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Following a dramatic trail of events, the Madras High Court Bench of Justices CT Selvam and Nirmal Kumar today initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against BJP National Secretary, H Raja. Raja drew the ire of advocates, political leaders and now the Court for derogatory remarks allegedly made by him against the judiciary during a Ganesh Chaturthi procession held on Saturday.
A video clip that has since gone viral shows Raja making furious remarks against the Tamil Nadu Police and the High Court on being told to take an alternate route to conduct the Vinayaka procession in Pudukkottai.
Taking note of such scandalous conduct, the High Court today explained its reasons for initiating contempt proceedings against the same in the following words,
“… 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 Hon’ble 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.“
In a strong message to detractors from all sides, the Court also begins its order with the following declaration,
“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 is reserved for a particular Bench of this Court and hence, other Benches in the face of objectionable, scandalous material, would not move against the contemner!
Let us be told that if any individual Judge or body of Judges is 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 is one of rarity and that legal niceties, procedural technicalities and judicial politeness, would deter Courts from acting against the contemner!
While it is the order of day to deny one’s signature, let us be told that it is 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 is 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 Crime No.114 of 2018 on the file of Thirumayam Police Station, Pudukottai District, in respect of the acts of the contemner, 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 is first forgotten and then forgiven.”
The Bench took up the case today, even as two other Benches declined to initiate suo motu contempt against Raja. Several Advocates made mention of the controversial episode before the Bench headed by Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and the Bench headed by Justice N Kirubakaran.
Whereas Justice Kirubarakan directed that the matter be taken before the appropriate jurisdictional court, Justice Ramesh informed that the Court would consider the case if a contempt petition is filed.
In the meanwhile, however, the Bench of Justices CT Selvam and Nirmal Kumar initiated the contempt proceedings on its own. After summoning the concerned state counsel, the Bench proceeded to register the contempt case, direct that statutory notice is served and order that H Raja appear before the Court on October 22.