Advocate Prashant Bhushan on Monday paid the Re 1 fine imposed on him by the Supreme Court after his conviction in a criminal contempt case, but said this does not mean that he has accepted the apex court verdict.
He filed a review petition against the August 14 conviction order, saying the matter “should never (have) been heard by Justice Arun Mishra” who was part of the bench that found him guilty.
“Just because I’m paying the fine does not mean I have accepted the verdict,” Bhushan told the media, adding that he has already filed another writ petition urging the court to lay down a procedure for appeal in cases where the SC takes suo motu contempt action and punishes someone.
Bhushan alleged that the government is trying to silence voices of dissent. He said he had received several contributions to pay the fine and would use the money to set up a “truth fund”, which would be used to defend personal liberty of those who face state “persecution”.
The court had on August 31 imposed on Bhushan a token fine of Re 1 fine after holding him guilty of criminal contempt over two of his tweets which the court said were “based on distorted facts” and a “malicious/scurrilous… attack” on the “entire Supreme Court”.
Bhushan contended in the review petition that he was convicted “without fully considering his defence of truth and bona fide opinion” and sought an open court hearing in the matter.
He argued that the August 14 judgment “suffers from multiple errors apparent on the face of the record of both law and of fact”.
Bhushan contended that the contempt “matter should never (have) been heard by Justice Arun Mishra” because “on several occasions Hon’ble Justice Arun Mishra has orally accused” him “of committing contempt of court when he had merely mentioned that it may be inappropriate for a particular judge to hear a particular case in circumstances where conflict of interest was involved”.
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