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Monday, September 28, 2020

Pay Re 1 or face 3-month jail term with 3-year ban: Supreme Court to Prashant Bhushan

Prashant Bhushan contempt case: "My lawyer and senior colleague Rajiv Dhavan contributed Re 1 immediately after the contempt judgement today which I gratefully accepted," Prashant Bhushan tweeted.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 1, 2020 12:09:52 pm
Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court, Bhushan files petition, criminal contempt case, Indian express newsIn his fresh petition, Bhushan said in case the court does not allow intra-court appeal, it must direct that review petitions filed against orders of conviction by the Supreme Court in original criminal contempt cases should be heard in open court by a different bench.

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, who was found guilty of criminal contempt for two of his tweets, was on Monday let off with a token fine of Re 1 by the Supreme Court.

The bench, comprising Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari, directed the lawyer to deposit the amount by September 15, failing which he will attract a jail term of three months and debarment from law practice for three years.

“The freedom of speech cannot be curtailed but rights of others need to be respected,” the court observed, PTI reported.

Taking to Twitter, Bhushan said: “My lawyer and senior colleague Rajiv Dhavan contributed Re 1 immediately after the contempt judgement today which I gratefully accepted.”

On August 14, the bench had held Bhushan guilty over the tweets made on June 27 and June 29.

During the arguments, Bhushan told the court that the “two tweets represented” his “bonafide beliefs” and that he did not want to apologise for the same. He also answered in the negative when asked if he wished to reconsider his statement.

The court, however, gave him time till August 24 “to submit unconditional apology, if he so desires”.

Explained: In contempt case against Prashant Bhushan, the ‘Mulgaonkar principles’

Attorney-General K K Venugopal urged the court not to punish Bhushan, saying he had done a lot of good work in the area of public interest litigations.

Bhushan stuck to his guns and, in a supplementary statement on August 24, said the tweets represent his beliefs and apologising for them “would be insincere”.

Explained: In the Prashant Bhushan case, larger questions over contempt

The bench met again on August 25 to consider the “effect of the supplementary statement”.

Reserving its judgement that day, the bench expressed its anguish at Bhushan’s criticism of “sitting and retired” judges.

The court said while criticism is welcome, one should not “attribute motives to judges” since they cannot go to the press to defend themselves and “can only speak through judgements”.

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