A contemnor can be punished with simple imprisonment of up to six months or with a fine of up to Rs 2,000 or with both.
The Supreme Court on Thursday gave two-three days to lawyer Prashant Bhushan to ‘reconsider his defiant statement’. According to news agency PTI, the court said that the tone, tenor and content of Prashant Bhushan’s statement makes it worse.
“Is it defence or aggravation,” a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra asked Attorney General KK Venugopal.
Prashant Bhushan, who was earlier this month held guilty of contempt for two of his tweets against the judiciary, said that he will consult his lawyers and think over the apex court’s suggestion.
Earlier in the day, the top court rejected Bhushan’s submission that another bench should be hearing the arguments on quantum of punishment in the contempt case.
The bench also comprising Justices BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, while rejecting his submission, said that no punishment will be acted upon till his review is decided.
On his submission for a different bench, the court said, “You are asking us to commit an act of impropriety that another bench should hear arguments on sentencing.”
“Has it been ever done that hearing on sentencing has been undertaken by the other bench when the main bench is existing?” it added.
Bhushan, who himself addressed the court, said that he has been ‘grossly misunderstood’. “I am dismayed and disappointed that the court did not find it necessary to provide me the copy of the contempt petition”, he said. “My tweets simply showed my bonafide belief”.
Bhushan added that open criticism is necessary in democracy to safeguard the constitutional order.
The Supreme Court on August 14 held Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt for his derogatory tweets against the judiciary saying they cannot be said to be a fair criticism of the functioning of the judiciary made in the public interest. In its 108-page verdict, the top court had said: “The tweets which are based on the distorted facts, in our considered view, amount to committing criminal contempt.”