A Division Bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday stayed the suo motu contempt initiated by a single judge against the Coimbatore City Police Commissioner for not obeying the court's directions in a matter relating to a proposed ‘route march' by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in the city.
Justices P. Jothimani and K.B.K. Vasuki admitted a petition from C. Sylendra Babu, Coimbatore City Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), challenging the contempt proceedings and granted the stay.
The case related to the RSS seeking permission to take out a rally on Vijayadasami day on October 17.
The RSS, represented by S. Shanmugam, public relations in-charge, approached the court after the DCP rejected the request on the ground that the routes specified by him were crowded and it may cause inconvenience to the public. The issue of law and order was also cited as a reason.
When the single judge directed the Government Pleader (GP) to get particulars of a shorter route available, the court was told that the Commissioner had denied permission for the march. Stating that the Commissioner could not take a stand without giving the particulars, even for that matter that permission could not be granted, the Judge said it amounted to not obeying the court's directions and suo motu initiated contempt.
Challenging the contempt notice, Mr. Sylendra Babu and the DCP said it was only an oral communication and there was no written order directing the Commissioner to suggest a short route. “The communication addressed to the Government Pleader cannot form the basis for initiation of contempt proceedings,” he said.
Arguing that the order passed by the single judge was contrary to the provisions of the Contempt of Court Act, they said if the order was not stayed it would tarnish their image and vitiate the administration of Coimbatore city.