6 July 2023 8:26 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Thursday said that there should be a quietus to the criminal contempt case filed against editor of Tamil political weekly “Thuglak” and RSS Ideologue S Gurumurthy for his tweet against Justice S Muralidhar in 2018 and that it cannot have Damocles’ sword hanging on someone’s head for five years. “Our view is that the gentleman has appeared before the court,...
The Delhi High Court on Thursday said that there should be a quietus to the criminal contempt case filed against editor of Tamil political weekly “Thuglak” and RSS Ideologue S Gurumurthy for his tweet against Justice S Muralidhar in 2018 and that it cannot have Damocles’ sword hanging on someone’s head for five years.
“Our view is that the gentleman has appeared before the court, he expressed his remorse. Sometimes it is better to put quietus to all this,” a division bench headed by Justice Siddharth Mridul told Advocate Aman Bhalla appearing on behalf of Delhi High Court Bar Association, which initiated the criminal contempt proceedings.
He further said: “Why is the Delhi High Court Bar Association so keen? The bench itself heard the matter in relation to whether there was any contempt. And said that we wouldn’t… We must, sooner or later, put a quietus on all of this.”
Justice Mridul made the oral remarks as the senior counsel representing the lawyers’ body was not available to argue the case.
“We cannot have Damocles sword hanging on someone’s head for for five years!”, the bench, also comprising of Justice Gaurang Kanth, told Advocate Bhalla
Justice Mridul also said that there are various issues which arise in the case, including lack of permission to initiate criminal contempt proceedings.
“When a third party files an application seeking initiation of contempt… either it is done suo moto. This isn’t that. You’ve to obtain permission from a designated law officer. You don’t have that,” Justice Mridul told the lawyer.
On this, Advocate Bhalla submitted that the Bar Association had taken permission of the standing counsel (criminal) representing the State.
Responding to the submission, Justice Mridul said: “Now the expression in the provision is Advocate General. Is standing counsel the Advocate General?… We cannot initiate criminal contempt proceedings unless the contempt which you are alleging, the conduct is wilful. Where is it wilful?”
The court however adjourned the matter to July 13 and asked the counsel to examine the case before addressing arguments in the criminal contempt plea.
“You tell us and obtain instructions if the secretary of the Bar Association, who is the executive head, is still keen to prosecute the petition. You’ve to obtain instructions. We haven’t seen him. The secretary should be keen. He has initiated the proceedings. Where is he?”, the court remarked.
The matter pertains to a tweet made by Gurumurthy where he had posted a question asking whether Justice Muralidhar was a junior of Senior Advocate P Chidambaram. The tweet was made after an interim protection was granted to Karti Chidambaram by a division bench headed by Justice Muralidhar in the INX media case.
Justice Muralidhar had categorically clarified that he had no relationship of any kind with P Chidambaram and that he had never worked as his junior.