New Delhi, September 14: Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan on Monday filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against its decision to convict him of criminal contempt of court for posting a series of tweets raising questions on the apex court’s impartiality.
On August 31, a Supreme Court-bench, led by (now retired) Justice Arun Mishra, convicted Prashant Bhushan of contempt of court on the basis of two tweets against the judiciary. The bench on Monday ordered Prashant Bhushan to pay a fine of Re 1 or face a jail term of three months.
The court had earlier given him time to apologise for his remarks. However, the lawyer refused to offer an apology to the Supreme Court for the tweets, saying what he had expressed represented his bona fide belief which he continued to hold.
The review petition filed by Bhushan on Monday says that the apex court is not immune to regulation of power, India Today reported.
“Regulation of the power under Article 129 through prescribing procedure, maximum punishment etc. does not amount to taking away or denuding the power but only keeping such power within the limits that flow inter-alia from due process requirements under Article 21 of the Constitution and from the principle of supremacy of the Constitution rather than the supremacy of any entity that the Constitution establishes,” the petition says.
In the review petition, Prashant Bhushan has argued that the contempt case should not have been heard by Justice Arun Mishra as he had on multiple occasions warned Bhushan with contempt proceedings.
“Justice Mishra was also part of the bench which decided the Sahara Birla diaries case where allegations of bias had been raised against another judge on the bench,” it said.
Speaking to India Today TV on August 31, Prashant Bhushan said that the verdict might tweak his tweeting habits, but he won’t stop speaking up against what he thinks is wrong. When asked what has he learnt from his contempt case experience, Prashant Bhushan said, “Maybe I will be a bit more careful or retrained in my tweets but I certainly have to speak my mind whenever I see that there is some injustice taking place or some institution is not working properly in the way that it was meant to function.”
“It is my duty to speak as an officer of the court. I have great respect for the court but it does not mean that it should not be pointed out when the court makes a mistake,” the senior lawyer said.