Criminal contempt against Justice Katju? Lawyer writes to SG

New Delhi: A lawyer has written a letter to the Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta and requested his consent to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against former Supreme Court judge, Justice (retired) Markandey Katju for his extremely contemptuous remarks made in fugitive Nirav Modi extradition case.

Lawyer, Alakh Alok Srivastava, had written the letter to the SG Mehta, after the Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal, had, on March 30, recused himself from allowing his permission to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Justice (retd) Katju. He, however, advised Srivastava, to approach the SG for the same.

Srivastava said that he had filed this to the SG, under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, read with Rule 3 (c) of the Rules to Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of the Supreme Court, 1975, seeking consent to initiate proceedings for criminal contempt against Justice (retd) Katju for his extremely contemptuous remarks made in Nirav Modi extradition case.

According to the lawyer’s letter, Justice (retd) Katju had allegedly stated that in recent years the Supreme Court has “practically surrendered before the Indian Government and is doing its bidding and is not acting as an independent organ of the state protecting the rights of the people as it was supposed to be”.

Srivastava said that Justice (retd) Katju had also stated that the “Indian judiciary has largely surrendered before the political executive”.

Justice (retd) Katju has deliberately and wilfully scandalised the Supreme Court and has lowered its authority, not only before a court of United Kingdom but also before the public at large, by way of giving elaborate media briefing in this regard, Srivastava stated in his letter and sought contempt proceedings against him.

Justice (retd) Katju has brought the administration of justice in disrepute in India and abroad and is capable of undermining the dignity and authority of the institution of Supreme Court in general and the office of the Chief Justice of India in particular, in the eyes of the public at large, Srivastava said.

The lawyer pointed out that in 2016, the Supreme Court had issued a contempt notice against Justice (retd) Katju for one of his contemptuous Facebook posts allegedly in the Soumya rape and murder case.

After hearing Justice (retd) Katju, for some time in the open court room in that particular case, the Top Court had to reportedly call the security guards to escort him out.

The contempt of court proceedings, however, was later on dropped by the Court, after he tendered an unconditional apology to it, Srivastava asserted.

In the present case too, Justice (retd) Katju has very much committed criminal contempt of Supreme Court in view of the proposition of law propounded by the Apex Court in a plethora of judgments, including, in the recent case against lawyer, Prashant Bhushan, in the suo motu contempt petition last year, Srivastava said.

On March 30, AG Venugopal had recused himself from allowing his permission, of the letter written by Srivastava, to initiate the sanction for contempt proceedings against former Supreme Court Judge Justice Markandey Katju in connection with his alleged remarks against the judiciary.

“I have known Justice Katju for last about 16 years and we have been interacting with each other ever since”, the AG, Venugopal, had said in his reply to Srivastava, and recused himself to and did not grant his permission to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Justice (retired) Katju in connection with the letter written by Srivastava to him.
The AG, however, advised Srivastava, to approach SG Mehta for the same, as the Second law officer (Mehta) of the Union of India is also equally equipped with law and statute, in handling the matter.