Advocate Prashant Bhushan on Thursday filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against its order to either pay a nominal fine of Re 1 or spend three years in jail after he was held guilty of criminal contempt, PTI reported. Bhushan has already deposited Re 1 with the court.
Bhushan has filed two review pleas in the case. The first review plea on September 14 had challenged the August 14 verdict convicting him for the contempt of court. The second plea, filed on Thursday, is against the August 31 sentencing order which imposed the fine.
In his second plea, Bhushan has sought an oral hearing in open court, recall of the judgement, and a fresh hearing in the matter. The advocate also said that the questions of law raised by him should be referred to a larger bench of the Supreme Court.
Bhushan pointed out that he was not given the copy of the contempt petition filed by a lawyer, based on which the Supreme Court took cognisance. His petition said that the court never indicated during the proceedings that it could bar Bhushan from practising as a lawyer for three years. He argued that before passing an order debarring an advocate from appearing in courts, he must be clearly told that his conduct has been such that the court might ban him from practice for a specific period.
The plea also alleges that the petitioner was denied an opportunity to provide evidence under Section 17(5) of Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.
The case against Bhushan was based on two tweets from June. In one tweet, he made a remark about an undeclared emergency and the role of the Supreme Court and last four chief justices of India. The second tweet was about Chief Justice SA Bobde trying a Harley Davidson superbike in his hometown Nagpur during the coronavirus outbreak. On August 31, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had ordered Bhushan to pay Re 1 as fine in the case.
The advocate is also facing another contempt case. It relates to an interview Bhushan gave to the Tehelka magazine in 2009, in which he made allegations of corruption in the Supreme Court and said that half of the previous 16 chief justices were corrupt. On September 10, the top court had sought assistance from Attorney General KK Venugopal in case and deferred the hearing to October 12.