Lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan has filed a review petition in Supreme Court against the August 14 judgment holding him guilty of contempt of court for his alleged derogatory tweets. Bhushan deposited the Re 1 fine yesterday, on September 14.
While depositing the Re 1 token fine imposed on Prashant Bhusan by the apex court on August 31, he told the reporters, “I am going to the Supreme Court registry to deposit Re 1 fine imposed on me in relation to the contempt of court case. That I am depositing the fine does not mean I am accepting the judgment. I will be filing a review petition against it.”
He was asked to deposit the fine with the SC registry failing which Bhushan may face a three-month jail term and debarment from law practice for three years.
Now, Prashant Bhushan has filed a review petition against the apex court’s August 14 verdict holding him guilty of contempt of court. He has demanded the hearing by a different and larger bench.
In the petitioner filed through advocate Kamini Jaswal, Prashant Bhushan stated that the petition needs to be reviewed as it contains many errors apparent on the face of the record of both, law and fact. “As such, Order 47, Rule 1 read with Rule 4 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 would make this petition maintainable,” the plea said.
The petitioner also argues that while conviction and sentencing are separate and independent states of the criminal process, he has the full right to seek review of both the judgment passed against him.
The plea also states, “Nothing in the constitutional or statutory law as it applies to this Hon’ble Court’s power of review limits this right.” He has also sought an open court hearing and said, “In view of the sui generis nature of the proceedings under Article 129 for criminal contempt which is not committed ex facie curiae, a hearing in open court ought to be granted both on the question of admitting the present petition as well as on its merits.”
Besides seeking an open court hearing, Bhushan has also demanded that Justice Arun Mishra who had convicted him, should not hear the petition. The petitioner put the following demand claiming that Justice Arun Mishra may have had a bias against him.
“On several occasions Hon’ble Justice Arun Mishra has orally accused the Review Petitioner 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,” the plea said.
He alleged that many times, Justice Arun Mishra has denied relief in the petitions filed by organizations Bhushan is associated with. Bhushan has mentioned some of the instances including Sahara-Birla payments, Prasad Medical Trust, among others.
The plea also states that the instances mentioned in the review petition raise a reasonable apprehension and signifies that Bhushan didn’t receive a fair and impartial trial.
“The Supreme Court’s powers under Article 129 are also subject to due process requirements that flow from the Constitution. These powers, like any others, are not unregulated or unrestricted. The same has been recognized by the Apex Court in many of its judgments,” stated the plea.
The petition also adds that the plea against the petitioner is not maintainable in the first place in the absence of consent of the Attorney General. The plea further adds, “The role of the Attorney General is absolutely essential in a proceeding of Suo Motu Criminal Contempt as the Attorney General is the only independent mind that can throw light on if there is any contempt at all, the court being the aggrieved party as also the adjudicator and the alleged contemnor being the defendant.”
The petition also talks about the violation of fundamental rules of natural justice as mandatory requirements under the Act and the complementary rules are contravened.