Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who has been convicted of criminal contempt by the Supreme Court over two of his tweets, Wednesday urged the court to defer the hearing on the quantum of punishment till his review petition against the conviction is “filed and decided”.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari is scheduled to hear arguments on the quantum of punishment on Thursday.
In his application, Bhushan said he “intends” to file a review petition “after studying the order, in detail, and seeking appropriate legal counsel as the ramification of the said order is of grave constitutional significance, in particular on the right to free speech”. He said he “would file the same within the limitation period of 30 days from date of the judgment, as he is entitled to under…the Supreme Court Rules, 2013”.
Bhushan said the deferment “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 application) is considered”.
He also said if the court proceeds with the hearing and imposes any sentence, the same may be directed to be stayed till he exhausts the legal remedy of review.
Holding him guilty on August 14, the court had said the tweets were based on “distorted facts”, were a “malicious…attack” on the “entire Supreme Court”, and had the effect of “destabilising the very foundation” of judiciary.