Madras high court initiates contempt proceedings against H Raja

The Madras high court ordered issuance of statutory notice to him, requiring his appearance before the court on October 22.

Chennai: Initiating suo motu contempt proceedings against H.Raja, the national secretary of BJP, for his alleged derogatory remarks against the judiciary, the Madras high court ordered issuance of statutory notice to him, requiring his appearance before the court on October 22.

A division bench comprising Justices C.T.Selvam and M.Nirmal Kumar initiated suo motu contempt proceedings and posted to October 22, further hearing of the case.

“As informed by us in an earlier order, we judges are but cogwheels in the administration of justice, till we have done our time and wane away. It is the majesty of this institution, the Superior Courts and Courts below, which is paramount and it is this that we seek to uphold.

The judiciary held in high esteem by all right thinking people and which holds its head high by virtue of its numerous decisions both of old and of new has held aloft the flag of justice. Any attempt at creating a dent in this most revered pillar of our democratic system could lead to promotion of fascism, naxalism and all that is opposed to democracy.

It is with this concern, that we, taking cognizance of the scandalous conduct of the contemnor in the course of his actions, visuals and reports whereof are in wide circulation, leading to the registration of case on the file of Thirumayam police station, in exercise of powers under Article 215 of the Constitution of India, issue statutory notice in contempt to H. Raja”, the bench added.

The order came even as the second bench of Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice K Kalyanasundaram declined to take suo motu cognisance, saying it would hear the matter if any contempt petition was filed before it.

A criminal case was registered against Raja Sunday, a day after he picked up a quarrel with policemen in Meiyyapuram village in Pudukottai district over the route of an immersion procession of Lord Ganesh idols.

He had called the police "anti-Hindu" and "highly corrupt" besides making some remarks against judiciary when informed that permission could not be given to take out the procession through the route in view of a court order.

Raja was booked under Indian Penal Code sections including those relating to promoting enmity on grounds of religion, unlawful assembly, public nuisance, use of obscene words, deterring public servant from discharging his duty and criminal intimidation. As a video of the incident went viral, opposition parties, including DMK, demanded action against the BJP leader, known for making stoking controversies.

Senior Minister D Jayakumar had Sunday expressed hope that the court would take action on its own against Raja for his remarks against the judiciary. The issue echoed in the high court Monday when some advocates made a mention before the second bench headed by Justice Ramesh and sought contempt action. The bench, though, declined to initiate suo motu action. The bench headed by Justice Selvam said the majesty of courts was paramount.

In the earlier part of the order, the bench said "Let us be told that this court will not take cognizance of newspaper reports and video clippings in wide circulation in the social media! Let us be told that initiation of action in criminal contempt was reserved for a particular Bench of this court and hence, other Benches in the face of objectionable, scandalous material, would not move against the contemnor! Let us be told that if any individual judge or body of judges was held in scant disregard, disrespect and scandalous contempt, the brother/sister judges will await and abide the decision of the one to whom the portfolio stands allotted! Let us be told that exercise of contempt jurisdiction was one of rarity and that legal niceties, procedural technicalities and judicial politeness, would deter courts from acting against the contemnor! While it was the order of day to deny one's signature, let us be told that it was also the order of the day to allow one to escape action by denying his voice! Let us be told that the offending action has taken place within Pudukottai district and therefore, it was the Madurai Bench, which has jurisdiction and not this principal Bench, despite offending material being circulated throughout the State, the Country and the World at large! Let us be told that since the State has registered a case in respect of the acts of the contemnor, this court would hold its hands and hope that a fair and just investigation would be the outcome, rather than the frequent and usual course of withdrawal of the case by the State once all was first forgotten and then forgiven, the bench added and initiated contempt proceedings against Raja.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
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