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Prashant Bhushan case | Plea to uphold right of appeal in contempt case

Civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan has moved the Supreme Court for a declaration upholding the right of appeal of a person found guilty of contempt.

Mr. Bhushan was recently punished for contempt with a nominal fine of ₹1. He was found guilty of scandalising the Supreme Court with his tweets.

In his writ petition, Mr. Bhushan, represented by senior lawyer Kamini Jaiswal, said a person found guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court cannot file an appeal. He has to accept the verdict unquestioningly. Mr. Bhushan said an “intra-court appeal” mechanism should be evolved by the court. The right to appeal a court verdict is a fundamental right.

“As a judge the power of the Supreme Court to convict and sentence the accused is unlimited and arbitrary... No one can be at once a suitor and a judge. Thus, there is a need for an intra-court appeal,” Mr. Bhushan contended.

Also read: Will pay fine to SC, reserve right to file review plea against judgement in contempt case, says Prashant Bhushan

In the alternative, the review proceedings on a finding of guilt in a contempt case should be heard by a different Bench in open court.

The petition said the court has devised guidelines for the review of death penalty cases. The curative jurisprudence by which pleas are heard on the limited grounds of natural justice was also an innovation of the Supreme Court.

“The fact that there is inherent unavoidable conflict of interest involved, and the fact that liberty of the alleged contemnor is at stake, it is of utmost importance that certain basic safeguards are designed which would reduce [though not obviate] chances of arbitrary, vengeful and high-handed decisions,” the petition said.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 5:44:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/prashant-bhushan-case-plea-to-uphold-right-of-appeal-in-contempt-case/article32589978.ece

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