Jayarajan guilty of contempt: SC

January 31, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 08:18 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Noting that ‘shumbhan’ (Malayalam word for idiot) conveys a “strong abuse,” the Supreme Court on Friday held Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] State committee member M.V. Jayarajan guilty of contempt of court for publicly ridiculing the Kerala High Court judiciary for ordering a ban on roadside meetings.

In a 16-page judgment, a Bench led by Justice Vikramjit Sen dismissed the CPI(M) leader's defence that his words were meant as a criticism in exercise of his fundamental right of free speech.

It observed that parts of Mr. Jayarajan's speech conveyed the intention that he meant to “scandalise and lower the dignity of the court, and as an intentional and calculated obstruction in the administration of justice.”

“He has shown no remorse or contrition for his conduct. Instead, he has vainly etymologised the Sanskrit origin of ‘shumbhan,’ fully aware of the fact that in its slang, especially to the rural and rustic persons he was addressing, it conveyed a strong abuse,” Justice Sen, who authored the verdict, observed.

The apex court, however, reduced Mr. Jayarajan's punishment from six months' imprisonment to four weeks. A Division Bench of the High Court had initiated suo motu contempt of court proceedings against Mr. Jayarajan in October 2010. He was found guilty in 2011.

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