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The Delhi High Court today initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against Chartered Accountant and Director of the Reserve Bank of India, S Gurumurthy for his tweets against sitting High Court judge Justice S Muralidhar.
Gurumurthy had shared a tweet alluding to bias on the part of Justice Muralidhar after the judge had passed an order setting aside the transit remand order against activist Gautam Navlakha earlier this month.
He had retweeted a link to a blog called ‘Drishtikone’, titled ‘Why has Delhi High Court Justice Muralidhar’s relationship with Gautam Navlakha not been disclosed?’
The Court took notice of the tweet and the article after Advocate Rajshekhar Rao wrote a letter to Chief Justice Rajendra Menon, alleging that the article and Gurumurthy’s retweet was a deliberate attempt to attack a sitting High Court judge.
The matter was taken up today by the Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Yogesh Khanna, which issued notice to Gurumurthy, Drishtikone and filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri. The Court also ordered that the tweets in question, and a YouTube video making allegations against Justice Muralidhar, be taken down. Notice has also been issued to the NCT government.
This is not the first time Gurumurthy has found himself in hot water for his remarks against Justice Muralidhar.
The Delhi High Court had taken suo motu notice of certain tweets by Gurumurthy relating to the decision of the Court to grant interim relief to Karti Chidambaram.
Gurumurthy, who is the editor of the magazine ‘Thuglak’, through his tweets, had asked whether Justice Muralidhar had been a junior to Karti Chidambaram’s father and Senior Advocate P Chidambaram.
In an order passed in March this year, Justice Muralidhar observed that misinformation on social media spreads like wildfire and considered it necessary to place on record the correct facts. The Bench also took note of Gurumurthy’s substantial following on twitter. The Court observed,
“Being the editor of a magazine that has a wide readership in Tamil Nadu, had Mr. S. Gurumurthy cared to check, he could easily have ascertained that the presiding Judge of this Bench was as a junior of Mr. G. Ramswamy, who then was the Additional Solicitor General of India and who later was the Attorney General for India.
At no time did the presiding Judge work as a junior to Mr. P. Chidambaram, Senior Advocate, the father of the Petitioner. It is unfortunate that despite some of the tweets in response clarifying the correct factual position, Mr. Gurumurthy chose not to withdraw his mischievous and false tweet.”
The Court, in that matter, did not initiate contempt proceedings against Gurumurthy, but asked the Centre as to whether such posts can scandalize the legal profession and whether any remedial action needed to be taken.
The matter did not end there. In April, the Court issued notice in a contempt petition filed against Gurumurthy by the Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA).