In a recent development, Prashant Bhushan, an activist-lawyer, filed a fresh plea in the Supreme Court, seeking a review of the August 31 sentencing order against him. According to this order, he was directed to either pay a nominal fee of Re. 1 or face three months of imprisonment and three years of debarment from law practice owing to his two tweets against the judiciary.
Sequence Of Events
June 27: The activist tweeted regarding the undeclared emergency in India and the role of the Supreme Court and the last four chief justices of India.
June 29: Bhushan tweeted about Chief Justice S A Bobde who was trying a superbike Harley Davidson in his hometown, amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
July 22: After a lawyer had filed a complaint against Prashant Bhushan for his tweets, the Supreme Court initiated the proceedings against him and issued a notice.
August 14: The Supreme Court announced its verdict and held Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt for both of his tweets as those were directed against the judiciary.
August 24: Bhushan refused to apologise to the Supreme Court while hearing the argument of point of quantum of sentence.
August 25: Attorney General K K Venugopal urged the court to dismiss the judgement against Bhushan. But the court asked him again for apologies to which he again refused, following which the Supreme Court reserved its judgement on Bhushan’s sentencing.
August 31: Supreme Court ordered Prashant Bhushan to pay a fine of Re. 1 latest by September 15 failing which, he shall be subject to three-month-long imprisonment and three-year-long debarment from law practice.
Mr Bhushan had deposited the nominal fine of Re. 1 on September 14 but has filed two separate review petitions in the court of law while the first one challenged the August 14 order, the second one challenges the August 31 order.
The latest (second) review plea has been filed through lawyer Kamini Jaiswal in which Mr Bhushan is seeking an oral hearing in an open court. He also sought a recall of the judgement and demanded that the questions raised by him should be referred to a larger bench.
According to the plea, Mr Bhushan was not supplied with the copy of the petition based on which, August 14 judgement was declared. Additionally, he was not intimated that the court was contemplating disbarment of Petitioner-Advocate from appearing before the court.
Furthermore, he was denied to lead evidence under section 17(5) of Contempt Court of Acts, 1971, the plea said. He was also denied an opportunity to file a fresh affidavit, in case the court of law was dissatisfied with his primary response.
The development of the case will be evident in a matter of a few days. The Supreme Court of India held that Mr Bhushan tried to scandalize the judicial institution and this cannot be let go of, as it may affect the prestige and honour of the nation.
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