No nod for contempt case against ex-judge

Former Delhi High Court judge S.N. Dhingra and two senior advocates had criticised the Supreme Court over its oral observations against suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma.

July 14, 2022 01:49 pm | Updated July 15, 2022 01:01 am IST - New Delhi

K. K. Venugopal, Attorney General of India. File

K. K. Venugopal, Attorney General of India. File | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal did not consent to a plea to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against former Delhi High Court judge S.N. Dhingra and two senior advocates for criticising the Supreme Court over its oral observations against suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma.

Mr. Venugopal said the statements made by Justice Dhingra, senior advocates Aman Lekhi and K. Rama Kumar were in the "realm of fair comment on a hearing".

He said the statement were "not vituperative or abusive nor are they likely to interfere with the administration of justice by the Supreme Court of India".

Mr. Venugopal reminded advocate Jaya Sukin, who had sought his consent for initiating contempt action, that the Supreme Court had itself, in several judgments, held that "fair and reasonable criticism of a judicial proceedings would not constitute contempt of court".

“I am not satisfied that the criticism made by the three persons named in your letter is with malice or is an attempt to impair the administration of justice, or that it was a deliberate and motivated attempt to bring down the image of the judiciary. In the circumstances, I accordingly decline consent to initiate proceedings to criminal contempt of the Supreme Court,” Mr. Venugopal addressed Mr. Sukin in his response.

A Vacation Bench of Justices Surya Kant and J.B. Pardiwala had on July 1 severely reprimanded Ms. Sharma for her comments against Prophet Mohammad, saying she was “single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country”.

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