Tamil Nadu

A-G withdraws predecessor’s orders declining consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Gurumurthy

S. Gurumurthy  

Advocate General (A-G) R. Shunmugasundaram has recalled an order passed by his predecessor Vijay Narayan on March 31 this year refusing to give consent for initiating criminal contempt of court proceedings against Tamil magazine Thuglak’s Editor S. Gurumurthy for his comments about the judiciary during the magazine’s annual meet with its readers on January 14.

The A-G agreed with Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK) leader S. Doraisamy’s counsel V. Elangovan that his plea for consent was dismissed by mistake and hence the order must be withdrawn. He withdrew the previous order and decided to reconsider the plea for grant of consent, along with another similar plea made by advocate S. Kumaradevan, on November 12.

According to Mr. Elangovan, the previous A-G had on March 26 granted time till March 31 for Mr. Gurumoorthy’s counsel to file an English translation of the Tamil speech since the A-G could not read the Tamil text of the speech submitted by the petitioner. Accordingly, the translation was submitted before the A-G’s office on March 31 and it was evident from the office seal.

A copy of the translation was also given to Mr. Doraisamy for verification and consensus. However, even before the petitioner could get back, the order rejecting consent was passed, the counsel said. “The filing of physical copy on March 31, 2021 probablizes the version of Mr. Elangovan that the translation was asked for as the then A-G was not able to read Tamil,” the incumbent A-G said.

His withdrawal order went on to read: “Mr. S. Ravi argued for the respondent (Mr. Gurumurthy). He admitted having filed the rough transcription of the Questions and Answers (between the Editor and the readers) and the English translation. As per the official seal, the copy was received on March 31… Therefore, the submission that the order of dismissal was passed by mistake cannot be brushed aside."

The comments by Mr. Gurumurthy were made while answering a query from one of the magazine’s readers on judicial delay in deciding corruption cases. Then, he had said even Supreme Court judges get appointed by politicians and that the appointments were obtained only by beseeching one person or the other and by holding on to their feet.

However, the next day, he expressed regret for the remark and clarified that his intent was to say how some candidates for judges for even the highest court go and beseech politicians for support. “But in the spur and heat of the moment, I mentioned judges instead of candidates,” he clarified.

Further, clarifying that the remarks were completely unintended, he had said: “I may add that the statement was in the course of my extempore reply to a provocative question and not in any deliberate article or writing which would show my intent.”

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 1:51:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/a-g-withdraws-predecessors-orders-declining-consent-to-initiate-contempt-proceedings-against-gurumurthy/article37189369.ece

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