Justice N. Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court on Friday refused to initiate any action against those who have been criticising him for having taken up suo motu revision against the acquittal of Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy and discharge of Ministers Thangam Thennarasu (Finance) and K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran (Revenue) from disproportionate assets cases.
“Those who cannot tolerate criticism are unfit to hold public office,” the judge told advocate R. Krishnamurthy, when the latter urged the court to initiate suo motu contempt of court proceedings against DMK organisation secretary R.S. Bharathi for having alleged that there was a mala fide intention behind the revision petitions.
“Let anyone talk anything. I know that I have been acting true to my conscience. I am sitting in this office consciously and performing my duties, knowing very well that I would get brickbats, too, for the work I do; but that will never prevent me from working effectively as a judge of this court,” he said.
He told the lawyer that people holding public office should not be sensitive to such criticism. When the lawyer pointed out that all kinds of imaginary theories were being floated on social media after the DMK leader made his remarks to the mainstream media, the judge asked what else could be expected from social media.
“All this is bound to happen on social media, but we are not governed by social media. How many people can we go and stop? Court must be prepared to face all this. Honesty of a judge must not [be] pronounced by the judge himself by initiating action against those who criticise [him]; instead, the people at large must decide it,” he said.
He went on to state: “Only I know whether I have acted true to my conscience or not. Others can give multiple interpretations, this way or that way. I will not get into all those things because I have a better job to do, which is to take care of the last litigant standing before this court. I am more concerned about that; I am not concerned about anything else.”
The judge had recently taken up suo motu revision against the acquittal and discharge of the Ministers from the disproportionate assets cases after finding certain illegalities.
However, while addressing the media on Thursday, Mr. Bharathi had accused the judge of following a ‘pick and choose policy’ by taking up suo motu revision of only the cases related to DMK leaders.