Advocate General K.P. Dandapani, on Thursday, adjourned to February 28 for preliminary hearing a petition seeking his sanction to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the former High Court judge R. Basant for his remarks in the Suryanelli sexual abuse case.
The Advocate General will hear the arguments of the petitioner on February 28 and decide whether notices should be issued to Mr. Basant.
The petition was filed by N. Prakasan, the former private secretary of Mr. Basant. Mr. Prakasan’s petition said the High Court had acquitted all but one accused in the Suriyanelli case.
The Supreme Court, however, set aside the judgment and remanded it to the High Court for fresh consideration. He said Mr. Basant had made an irresponsible statement about the Supreme Court judgment in the Suriyanelli case.
He said the statements of the former Judge were per se criminal contempt of judiciary. The prestige of the lower judiciary and the Supreme Court had been lowered among the public by Mr. Basant’s statement.
In footage televised, the former judge, who was part of a Division Bench that delivered the January 2005 High Court judgment acquitting 35 out of the 36 accused, had said that it was a case of child prostitution, and not rape. He said the Supreme Court had not read the High Court judgment and that was why it had expressed shock over the judgment.
On January 31, 2013, the Supreme Court had ordered the High Court to hear a appeal afresh. It was the High Court Bench consisting of Justice K.A. Abdul Gafoor (he is no more) and Justice Basant who delivered the judgment.
Mr. Basant now practices in the Supreme Court and is one of the counsels representing the State government in the court.