AG refuses consent for contempt against Digvijaya Singh

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh. File   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal has declined a plea to give consent to initiate criminal contempt proceedings in the Supreme Court against Member of Parliament and senior Congress party leader, Digvijaya Singh, for his tweets.

The plea by advocate Sumant Sudan referred to two tweets by Mr. Singh questioning whether the Supreme Court would declare the alleged sweeping powers of raid and arrest without warrant given by the Uttar Pradesh government to the Special Security Force as unconstitutional or favour it under pressure.

Mr. Venugopal said he was replying on the assumption that Mr. Singh actually did make the statements.

Having said that in his letter, the top law officer opined the statements were “wholly uncalled for”.

But he concluded that the tweets did not amount to contempt of court.

“However, I do not believe that they merit action for criminal contempt of the Supreme Court of India,” Mr. Venugopal said in his short letter dated September 30.

The Attorney General’s prior consent is required under the Contempt of Courts Act to initiate proceedings.

In mid-September, Mr. Venugopal had declined permission to initiate contempt action against senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai for his tweets. In a one-page letter addressed to complainant, advocate Omprakash Parihar, Mr. Venugopal had reasoned that “trifling remarks and mere passing criticism, though perhaps distasteful, are unlikely to tarnish the image of the institution”.

In August, Mr. Venugopal had similarly declined permission to a complainant who wanted to initiate contempt proceedings against actor Swara Bhasker for “scandalising” the Supreme Court with her tweets on the court's verdict in the Ramjanmabhoomi title dispute case.

The Attorney General had found no substance in that plea against Ms. Bhasker, saying her comments regarding the Ramjanmabhumi verdict “appears to be a factual one” and contained her “perception” of the judgment.

The apex court had however found civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt for “scandalising the court” with his tweets commenting on a picture of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde on a heavy bike and the court's functioning in the past six years.

A virtual court Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra, now retired, had punished Mr. Bhushan with a nominal fine of ₹ 1.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 2:38:29 PM |

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