Attorney General K.K. Venugopal on Thursday refused sanction for initiating criminal contempt action against former High Court judge Justice S.N. Dhingra, Senior Advocate Aman Lekhi and Senior Advocate K. Ramakumar for their comments criticising the observations of the Supreme Court while hearing former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s plea to club FIRs against her and move it to Delhi.
Advocate C.R. Jaya Sukin had sought the AG’s approval since, according to him, the comments made against the Supreme Court’s oral observations amounted to contempt.
AG Venugopal said in his reply that the statements made by the three persons falls in the realm of fair comment on a hearing of the Supreme Court. Neither were the statements vituperative or abusive nor were they likely to interfere with the SUpreme Court’s administration of justice.
Venugopal underlined that in a large number of judgements has held that reasonable and fair criticism of a judicial proceeding would not constitute contempt of court
Venugopal said he was not satisfied that the three persons had made these remarks with malice nor was it a deliberate and motivated attempt to bring down the image of the judiciary.
On July 1 during the hearing of Nupur Sharma’s plea before the vacation bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice J.B. Pardiwala, the bench had made several strong statements against the former BJP spokesperson’s comments against Prophet Muhammad during a TV debate.
Following the outburst which was not recorded in the order, which just said it was withdrawn by her counsel, several legal luminaries protested the observations and said it was not correct procedure.
Advocate Jaya Sukin had initiated contempt proceedings following some of these comments. Further, 117 retired judges and retired armed forces officers had also written an open letter condemning the observations made by the Supreme Court vacation bench.