Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan said on Monday that paying of the token fine of Re 1 imposed on him by the Supreme Court in a contempt case does not mean that he has accepted the verdict and would file a review petition against the judgement.
Bhushan, who deposited the fine with the apex court Registry over his two tweets seen as contempt of court, said that he has received contributions from several corners of the country for paying the fine, and a “truth fund” will be created out of such contributions to provide legal aid to those who are prosecuted for dissenting opinions.
“Just because I’m paying the fine does not mean I have accepted the verdict. We are filing a review plea today. We have filed a writ petition that there must be an appeal procedure created for conviction under contempt,” Bhushan told the media before submitting the fine.
“The State is using all means to silence voices of dissent. The ‘truth fund’ will be used to protect the personal liberty to those persons who face the State’s persecution”, said Bhushan who was accompanied by a group of people from Rajasthan.
The lawyer also spoke on the arrest of former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid for his alleged role in the Delhi riots and said the government is using all sorts of tactics to shut down criticism.
The activist-lawyer had earlier said his tweets were not intended in any way to disrespect the Supreme Court or the judiciary, but they were an expression of his anguish at what he felt was the court’s deviation from its sterling record.
A bench headed by Justice (retired) Arun Mishra asked Bhushan to deposit the fine by September 15, failing which he would have attracted a jail term of three months and debarment from law practice for three years.
Bhushan in his statement had refused to offer an apology to the Supreme Court for the tweets, saying what he had expressed represented his bona fide belief which he continued to hold.