STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Prashant Bhushan moves SC, seeks deferment of hearing on sentence till review plea considered

The top court on August 14 held that Bhushan attempted to scandalise the entire institution of the Supreme Court.

Published: 19th August 2020 03:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th August 2020 05:13 PM   |  A+A-

Advocate Prashant Bhushan

Advocate Prashant Bhushan (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: A day before the scheduled hearing on quantum of sentence, activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan who has been held guilty of criminal contempt for his two derogatory tweets, moved the Supreme Court seeking deferment of the proceedings till a review petition is filed and considered.

He has been convicted of contempt of court for his tweets against CJI S A Bobde and former four CJIs.

In a petition filed a day before the sentencing, Bhushan said he intended to file a plea seeking review of the August 14 order which convicted him of contempt of court for scandalising the judiciary.

The apex court had said it would hear on August 20, the arguments on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to Bhushan in the matter.

A contemnor can be punished with simple imprisonment of up to six months or with a fine of up to Rs 2,000 or with both.

ALSO READ | Contempt case against Prashant Bhushan should be heard by constitution bench: Ex SC judge

“The applicant undertakes to file the review within 30 days from the date of judgment, as he is entitled under the law,” the application by Bhushan stated.

He requested the top court to defer Thursday's hearing on the sentence "in the interests of justice pending consideration of the review application that petitioner intends to file within the limitation period..."

"The Applicant would file the same within the limitation period of 30 days from date of the judgment, as he is entitled to under Order 47 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013."

“If this Hon’ble Court proceeds with the hearing on sentence and imposes any sentence, the same may be directed to be stayed till the remedy of review is exhausted by the applicant,” Bhushan submitted adding, “The fact that there is no appeal against an order of this Hon’ble Court makes it doubly necessary that it takes the utmost precaution to ensure that justice is not only done but is seen to be done.”

ALSO READ | 41 lawyers write to SC, say Bhushan’s conviction will discourage free speech

Bhushan submitted the deferment of the said hearing would be in the interests of justice in view of the underlying public policy with respect to safeguarding liberty of a citizen under Article 21 till such time as his first appeal (in this case the review petition) is considered.

The application said "if this Court proceeds with the hearing on the sentence and imposes any sentence, the same may be directed to be stayed till the remedy of review is exhausted by the Applicant".

Bhushan, in his application filed through advocate Kamini Jaiswal, said in criminal contempt proceedings, the top court functions like a trial court and is also the last court.

"Section 19(1) of the Contempt of Court Act gives a statutory right of appeal to a person found guilty of contempt by the High Court. The fact that there is no appeal against an order of this Court makes it doubly necessary that it takes the utmost precaution to ensure that justice is not only done but seen to be done," he said.

Bhushan said it would be in consonance with the right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

"Otherwise there would be gross injustice since there would be no occasion to examine the correctness of the findings arrived at in a suo motu criminal contempt proceeding before putting the convicted contemnor's liberty at stake," he said.

ALSO READ | Retired judges, bureaucrats slam those criticising SC's conviction of Prashant Bhushan

The top court on August 14 held that Bhushan attempted to scandalise the entire institution of the Supreme Court and said, "If such an attack is not dealt with, with requisite degree of firmness, it may affect the national honour and prestige in the comity of nations".

In its 108-page verdict, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari, had said: "The tweets which are based on the distorted facts, in our considered view, amount to committing criminal contempt. In the result, we hold alleged contemnor No.1 - Mr. Prashant Bhushan guilty of having committed criminal contempt of this Court".

The top court had, however, discharged the notice issued to Twitter Inc, California, USA in the contempt case after accepting its explanation that it is only an intermediary and does not have any control on what the users post on the platform.

It had said the company has also shown its bona fides immediately after the cognizance was taken by this Court as it has suspended both the tweets.

The top court had analysed the two tweets of Bhushan posted on the micro-blogging site on June 27 on the functioning of judiciary in past six years, and on July 22 with regard to Chief Justice of India S A Bobde.

"In our considered view, it cannot be said that the tweets can be said to be a fair criticism of the functioning of the judiciary, made bona fide in the public interest," it had said.

On August 14, the bench had fixed August 20 to hear arguments on the sentence. The maximum sentence prescribed under Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, is six-month imprisonment with a fine of Rs 2,000.

The top court on August 14 held that Bhushan attempted to scandalise the entire institution of the Supreme Court and said, "If such an attack is not dealt with, with requisite degree of firmness, it may affect the national honour and prestige in the comity of nations".

In its 108-page verdict, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari, had said: "The tweets which are based on the distorted facts, in our considered view, amount to committing criminal contempt."

(With PTI Inputs)



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp