New Delhi: Advocate Prashant Bhushan moved the Supreme Court on Saturday, requesting the right of appeal against the conviction in the contempt case. He was convicted for a contempt tweet against the judiciary and sentenced to a fine of Rs 1.
On 31 August, Bhushan was directed to deposit the fine amount by 15 September in the registry of the Supreme Court. Failure
to abide by the order will result in imprisonment for three months and pleading for three years. In a new petition filed through advocate Kamini Jaiswal, he has requested that a decision by this court to confer the right to appeal to a larger and separate bench to the guilty person, including the petitioner, in the case of criminal contempt.
Bhushan has requested the petition to remove the apprehension of “unilaterally, indignantly and taking decisions without considering the sentiments of others”, suggesting a procedural change in the criminal contempt case. He has said that in such cases the apex court is a party along with a ‘prosecutor, witness and judge’ hence there is a possibility of bias. The petition states that the right to appeal is a fundamental right under the Constitution and is also conferred under international law. It would, therefore “provide a defence against wrongful conviction.
”The petition also seeks to set out the rules and guidelines to allow” an opportunity to appeal against the conviction in the original case of criminal contempt. “
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan today filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court seeking the right of appeal against conviction in original criminal contempt cases so that the cases can be heard by a larger and a different bench. pic.twitter.com/nFxZzzAZcs— ANI (@ANI) September 12, 2020
According to the existing statutory system, a person convicted in criminal cases has the right to file a reconsideration petition against the verdict and the plea is usually heard within the Chamber and the person convicted is not heard.
Bhushan has said that his petition has been filed to implement the fundamental rights conferred under Articles 14 (right to equality), 19 (freedom of speech and expression) and 21 (right to life) of the constitution.
The petition states that the right to appeal against conviction in the original case of contempt is a fundamental right under Article 21 and derives from the principles of natural justice. Not having such a right is a violation of the right to life.
Apart from the contempt case filed for his tweet, Bhushan is also facing another contempt case of 2009.