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Prashant Bhushan Fined Re 1 by Supreme Court in Contempt Case, Faces 3 Month Jail if Not Paid

Prashant Bhushan shows a Re 1 coin, the token fine imposed by the SC in the criminal contempt case.

Prashant Bhushan shows a Re 1 coin, the token fine imposed by the SC in the criminal contempt case.

Prashant Bhushan is required to pay the fine by September 15 or he will be jailed for 3 months and debarred from practising for 3 years.

The Supreme Court on Monday imposed a token penalty of Re 1 on activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan as his punishment in the criminal contempt case.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said Bhushan must deposit Re 1 by September 15.

If the lawyer fails to do so, he will be jailed for 3 months besides a debarment from practice for a period of 3 years.

The bench, also comprising Justices BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, said an order on sentencing was a must in the given circumstances.

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The court agreed with Attorney General KK Venugopal’s submissions that there does not need to be a stringent punishment or a jail term for Bhushan in view of his contribution as a lawyer.

The bench, in its order, took note that Bhushan chose not to apologise or express regret despite repeated opportunities.

It pulled him up for rather making statements in the press about the contempt proceedings and leaking his statements even before they were considered by the court.

It said court’s decisions shouldn’t be pre-empted by anyone by way of publications and public discussions.

On August 14, the bench had held Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt. It had then maintained that judges’ magnanimity cannot be stretched to become a weakness against “malicious and calculated attack on judiciary."

“The scurrilous/malicious attacks by the alleged contemnor No.1 (Bhushan) are not only against one or two judges but the entire Supreme Court in its functioning of the last six years. Such an attack which tends to create disaffection and disrespect for the authority of this Court cannot be ignored. The alleged contemnor has attempted to scandalise the entire institution of the Supreme Court,” the conviction order had stated.