"Rajeev Dhavan stood like a rock."
"Rajeev Dhavan stood like a rock."

Rajeev Dhavan files contempt plea over threats against his appearance in Ayodhya case for Muslim Parties

Meera Emmanuel

Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan has filed a plea seeking the initiation of suo motu contempt proceedings by the Supreme Court against a Chennai-based professor who allegedly threatened him against appearing for Muslim parties in the Ayodhya case.

In Dhavan’s petition, a letter allegedly penned by one, Professor N Shanmugham has been annexed. In the letter, Shanmugham has accused Rajeev Dhavan of having betrayed his faith by speaking on behalf of Muslims and “their so-called right to Ayodhya.” Claiming to be an 88-year-old senior citizen, Shanmugham goes on to state,

Hindus will not forgive you [Dhavan] for your present Role. If you have a conscience, recuse yourself immediately from (illegible) go back home and sit quietly ruling over your fate. Waiting for the lord’s judgment.

From Feb 1941 till today, I have chanted Gayatri Mantra 50 lakh times. From Sept 1958 till today, I have read Ch. 10 of GITA 27000 times. With that tongue, I curse you. Very soon my Lord will give you the punishment you deserve… You will live like a vegetable and a burden on Earth, laughed and derided at by society. Your family shall perish without anyone to lit (sic) the fire.

That shall be the price you will pay for your blasphemy. I can’t but pity you. I am ashamed of you.”

Registering his objection to the letter, Dhavan has submitted,

By sending the letter the Alleged Contemnor has committed Criminal Contempt because he is intimidating a Senior Advocate who is appearing for a party/parties before this Hon’ble Court and discharging his duties as a Senior Advocate and he ought not to have sent such a letter and therefore the Petitioner is constrained to file the present Contempt Petition before this Hon’ble Court.”

Dhavan goes on to submit that this is not an isolated instance of threats being made to him over his appearance in the Ayodhya case.

In the meanwhile, it needs to be mentioned that the Petitioner has been accosted both at home and in the court premises with intimidating behavior by several persons,” states the petition.

In particular, Dhavan quotes several Hindi WhatsApp messages sent by one, Sanjay Kalal Bajrangi, screenshots of which have also been annexed to the plea. Among other messages, as translated in the plea, are the following,

Vakeel Sahib, Please give your full support in getting positive decision on Ram Mandir Matter.

Coming generation shall forever keep you in their minds!!

Please be with Hindu Society!!

The words of your final journey shall be chanted as Ram Nam Satya!!!”

While seeking the Court’s intervention in initiating contempt proceedings, Dhavan has also sought exemption from seeking prior permission from Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, given that they have appeared in related proceedings. Ordinarily. Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act requires prior permission from the AG/SG for initiating contempt proceedings filed by individuals. However, Dhavan has submitted,

The Petitioner is not seeking prior permission from the Learned Attorney General for India because the Learned Attorney General in the earlier round had appeared for the State of Uttar Pradesh in the matters relating to the Babri Masjid/Ram Janam Bhoomi. Also, the Petitioner is not approaching the Learned Solicitor General for India because the Learned Solicitor General for India is appearing in the said matters for the State of Uttar Pradesh …  in view of the facts, circumstances and nature of the case it would not be desirable for the Petitioner to approach Learned Attorney or Solicitor General seeking permission…”

Dhavan has prayed that the Supreme Court should exercise “suo moto powers under Article 129 of the Constitution of India and Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act taking cognizance of the criminal contempt … against the contemnor/opposite party for committing criminal contempt within the meaning of Section 2(c) punishable under 15 of the contempt of courts Act.”

The Supreme Court has been hearing the Ayodhya case on a daily basis since August 6. Today marked the sixteenth day of hearing in the matter. Rajeev Dhavan is expected to begin his arguments on Monday next week.

[Read the Petition]

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