Prashant Bhushan seeks deferment of contempt case hearing in Supreme Court2 min read . Updated: 19 Aug 2020, 10:42 PM IST
Two tweets brought Bhushan under fire from SC. The first was about a photograph showing Chief Justice SA Bobde sitting on a high-end Harley Davidson motorcycle; in the second, Bhushan gave his opinion on the role of the last four CJIs
NEW DELHI: Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who has been held guilty of criminal contempt of the court for his two derogatory tweets, has moved the Supreme Court seeking the deferring of the hearing on the quantum of sentence. The hearing in the case is scheduled for 20 August.
The Supreme Court on 14 August had held Bhushan guilty of charges. The offence is punishable by up to six months in prison or a fine of up to ₹2,000 or both.
In his plea, Bhushan has said he intends to file a review petition against the 14 August order after studying it 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.
“It is respectfully submitted that the deferment of the said hearing, as prayed in the present application, 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," the plea said.
The plea added that since the apex court acts as a "court of first instance in a suo motu criminal contempt proceeding and there is no provision for appeal also, if there is conviction in such proceeding, the aforesaid principles of law, held in the context of a criminal trial, must apply parimateria to a case of a review filed against such conviction by this Court."
Two tweets brought Bhushan, a critic of the government and a lawyer known for taking up liberal causes, under fire from the court. The first was about a photograph showing Chief Justice S.A. Bobde sitting on a high-end Harley Davidson motorcycle; in the second, Bhushan gave his opinion on the role of the last four chief justices of India.
“No doubt, that it may be better in many cases for the judiciary to adopt a magnanimously charitable attitude even when utterly uncharitable and unfair criticism of its operations is made out of bona fide concern for improvement," the court had said in a 108-page judgment.
"However, when there appears some scheme and design to bring about results which have the tendency of damaging the confidence in our judicial system and demoralize the judges of the highest court by making malicious attacks, those interested in maintaining high standards of fearless, impartial justice will have to stand firmly."