Today's Paper

MLA to explain criticism of judge

CHENNAI OCT. 10. The Madras High Court has directed the principal district judges of Madurai and Sivaganga to summon a Congress MLA and presidents of two local bodies and probe their reported criticism of certain observations made by Justice M. Karpagavinayagam.

In their interview, as published in Junior Vikatan on October 8, the Thiruvadanai MLA, K.R. Ramasamy and the panchayat presidents of Kannangudi and Iravucheri (Sivaganga district) and Dharmarajapuram (Theni), Periyakaruppan and Thamizhan respectively, made statements criticising the functioning of Mr. Justice Karpagavinayagam and the observations he had made while hearing a case of harassment of a woman telecom officer by panchayatdars of Valayapatti in Tiruchi district.

Suganthi, a mother of two children, was made to prostrate repeatedly before the panchayatdars, who had imposed a fine of over Rs. 19,000 for her refusal to live with her husband. After a case was registered, the seven panchayatdars moved the court for anticipatory bail.

While hearing the plea, Mr. Justice Karpagavinayagam took exception to the panchayat practice, and made them apologise to her and then return the `fine' amount. He passed caustic remarks on the functioning of such panchayatdars, who held court under banyan trees and handed punishments arbitrarily.

In his present order, Mr. Justice Karpagavinayagam said: "It is trite law that criticising the functioning of a judge or referring to the issues to be decided by this court would amount to interference with the administration of justice. It is liable to be punished under the Contempt of Courts Act. However, before taking further action against these three persons, it will be appropriate to get the real contents of their statements. The principal district judges shall summon the three and obtain their clarification". The report should reach the High Court before October 27.