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Prashant Bhushan Files Review Petition Against Sentence Order in The Contempt Case [Read Petition]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
1 Oct 2020 10:45 AM GMT
Prashant Bhushan Files Review Petition Against Sentence Order in The Contempt Case [Read Petition]
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Advocate Prashant Bhushan has filed another petition in the Supreme Court, this time seeking review of the sentencing order August 31, 2020, whereby the Top Court imposed a fine of Re. 1 upon him in the suo moto contempt case. The Top Court had directed Mr. Bhushan to deposit Re. 1 with the SC Registry failing which he shall undergo imprisonment for three months and will be debarred...

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Advocate Prashant Bhushan has filed another petition in the Supreme Court, this time seeking review of the sentencing order August 31, 2020, whereby the Top Court imposed a fine of Re. 1 upon him in the suo moto contempt case.

The Top Court had directed Mr. Bhushan to deposit Re. 1 with the SC Registry failing which he shall undergo imprisonment for three months and will be debarred from practice in SC for three years.

Whereas Mr. Bhushan has paid the fine, through this petition filed by Advocate Kamini Jaiswal, he seeks to agitate the punishment in default of the fine.

'Paying Fine Does Not Mean I Accept SC Judgment; Filing Review Today': Prashant Bhushan Deposits One Rupee Fine In Contempt Case

He has submitted that at no point did the Court put him to notice that the it was contemplating such a "drastic action" against him. He has relied on a 2009 ruling of the Apex Court in RK Anand v. Delhi High Court, whereby it was held,

"….The rules of natural justice, therefore, demand that before passing an order debarring an advocate from appearing in courts he must be clearly told that his alleged conduct or actions are such that if found guilty he might be debarred from appearing in courts for a specific period."

In this backdrop he has contended that the impugned order, inasmuch as it imposed a sentence in the alternative disbarring him from appearing before the Court for a period of three years, is per incuriam as per the law laid down by the co-ordinate three judge bench in the RK Anand's case.

It was further stated that the sentence of imprisonment in default of the fine is disproportionate and contrary to statutory guidelines and policy underlying CrPC and IPC.

He has also agitated the Court's remarks that it will examine if the defence of truth, as pleaded by him, is a defence or an aggravation.

"The impugned judgement contains serious errors apparent on the face of the record in treating the mere mounting of the defence of truth to be an "aggravation" of an instance of contempt for which the Petitioner already stood convicted," he said.

He added,

"The finding of an "aggravation" of contempt amounts to a fresh conviction and violates the constitutional protection against double jeopardy contained in Article 20(2) of the Constitution. Further, this additional conviction is arrived at on facts not specifically put to the accused and not tried and deserves to be treated as a violation of the right to fair trial guaranteed under Article 14 and Article 21."

Inter alia, he has argued that the "no semblance of procedure" was followed by the Supreme Court in this case, inasmuch as:

  • He was denied a copy of the complaint filed by Advocate Maheshwari, in violation of his right under Rule 6(2) of Rules to Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of the Supreme Court, 1975.
  • The conviction and sentencing occurred solely on the basis of a "preliminary reply" and he was denied an opportunity to file a fresh affidavit in case the court was not satisfied by his preliminary reply.
  • He was further denied an opportunity to lead evidence under Section 17(5) of Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, to substantiate averments in his preliminary reply.

'Defence Of Fair Comment Ignored': Prashant Bhushan Files Review Against Contempt Verdict

He further contended that imposing any punishment on a person (who has been convicted for contempt of court) which is not strictly in accordance with the types and quantum of punishments prescribed under Section 12 of Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, is violative of second part of Article 20(1).

"It is respectfully submitted that in absence of any requirement for this Hon'ble Court, acting in exercise of its contempt jurisdiction, to impose punishment strictly in terms of Section-12 of Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, there is no certainty in the nature and quantum of sentence that may be imposed on a convict and the same depends entirely upon the discretion of the bench hearing the case," the petition states.

Pleading the ground of fair criticism, he said,

"impugned judgement approaches the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) in such a manner as to nullify it in respect of all institutional and administrative matters relating to the judiciary and the administration of justice."

Click Here To Download Petition

Read Petition


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