Former Army Chief V K Singh was on Wednesday rapped by the Supreme Court for allegedly making contemptuous remarks on its order on his age row, saying one cannot be allowed to “scandalise” the court and attribute motive to its verdict.
At the outset of the hearing, the apex court pulled up the former general for not filing his response on the notice issued by it on a suo motu comtempt proceeding against him and warned his lawyer “not to take the case lightly“.
A bench of justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale said that it welcomes any criticism of its judgement but attributing motive to a judgement is not allowed and said that Singh’s statement is “striking at the very root” of the judicial system.
“You cannot be allowed to scandalise the court like this. It is not permissible,” the bench said and referred to the portion of the alleged contemptuous remarks published in a national daily.
“The judge has been pressurised. It can’t be said like this,” the bench observed and added that “It (Singh’s statement) is striking at the root of the system“.
“We welcome criticism of our judgement but we don’t welcome motives attributed to the court judgement,” the bench said.
The bench also took serious exception when Singh’s counsel sought adjournment as arguing senior counsel Ram Jethmalani was unable to appear as he was held up in another case and even said that the former Army Chief can argue to defend himself.
“Contemnor will have to explain the position himself. Do not take it casually. You should have told earlier that you did not receive the paper book,” the bench said when Singh’s counsel submitted that entire paper book was not provided to him and sought more to file reply.
General (retd) Singh, 63, who was present in the second row of the courtroom, remained silent during the 20-minute proceedings.
The bench finally agreed to adjourn the case for November 20 and directed the ex-general to file his response by November 15.
It also asked Attorney General G E Vahanvati to file the CD of recorded statement and its transcript within 10 days which would also be supplied to Singh.
The AG, who was asked to assist the court, said that the matter is very serious and urged the bench to look at draft charges framed by him against Gen (retd) Singh.
He submitted that he went through the entire recorded statement of Gen (retd) Singh which was supplied by ANI and placed before the bench the transcript prepared by his office.