Prashant Bhushan moves SC seeking right of appeal against conviction for Contempt of Court

September 14, 2020

Prashant Bhushan moves SC seeking right of appeal against conviction for Contempt of Court

[ by Legal Era News Network ]


After the Supreme Court found Prashant Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt of Court for two tweets criticising the judiciary and being fined Re. 1 as punishment on August 31, Prashant Bhushan has filed a fresh writ petition in the Top Court seeking a declaration that a person convicted by the Supreme Court for criminal contempt, has a right to intra-Court appeal and his petition be heard by a larger and different Bench.

He has also prayed that a review petition filed against such conviction orders may be heard by a different bench in open court.

Bhushan in his plea has sought enforcement of his fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. In his plea, Bhushan has invoked Article 21, stating that the right to appeal against a conviction is a substantive right available to all citizens and flows from the principle of natural justice. He has also stated that the Right to appeal is an absolute right under the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

According to the petition, the existing laws in place do not bar the prayers sought by Bhushan in this plea and in fact it is in the spirit of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 to lay down such a procedure.

He further states in his plea that while the court of first instance may not accept the “truth” as alleged by the accused in a criminal contempt case, it may be accepted as factually correct by a larger or different bench. He has stated that is likely that the truth which is rejected by one Bench may be accepted by another when the whole matter is re-examined.

Article 14 has also been invoked in this petition which emphasizes that a person convicted of an offence by a High Court has a right to appeal whereas a person held guilty by the Supreme Court in first instance cannot make use of such right.

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