The turn of events in the Supreme Court which witnessed a contempt notice being issued to its former judge Markandey Katju for his comments on a blog about apex court judges, today prompted experts, barring an activist lawyer, to say that he “invited” the trouble himself. Former Attorney General of India Soli Sorabjee, Rajya Sabha MP and senior advocate K T S Tulsi and Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Vice President and senior advocate Ajit Kumar Sinha said that Justice Katju himself “invited it”.
However, former Additional Solicitor General and activist lawyer Indira Jaising differed with them saying the blog contained Justice Katju’s personal opinion which cannot invite contempt notice.
“It was his personal opinion. Whether a Supreme Court judge agrees or disagrees does not amount to contempt. I personally do not think it was contempt,” she said.
Differing with her, Sorabjee said, “The statement he (Katju) made was not appropriate. He himself invited it (order). It is a sad thing and his statement was contemptuous.”
His view was shared by Sinha, who said, “Katju should have confined his criticism to the judgement and not the judges. Being critical of a judge is not permissible”.
“Truth is a defence and if you say something, you have to justify it. You cannot make such comments on a person like a judge. You cannot attribute motives to a judge,” he said agreeing with the apex court order issuing contempt notice to Katju.
Tulsi too felt that Justice Katju’s remarks on the blog on the judges were “contemptuous”. The senior advocate and Rajya Sabha MP, who responded to the question after also going through the deliberations in the court room where Justice Katju was engaged in a heated exchange with the bench, said “today was a repeat of his contemptuous behaviour”.
“Justice Katju’s response to Supreme Court in court amounted to him repeating his contemptuous behaviour. The apex court judge told him that his blog was an assault on the judges and not the judgement.
“To this, Justice Katju started lecturing them. Justice Katju has to remember that he was appearing as a citizen and not as a judge or former judge. He ought to know that law is same for all citizens. By his intemperate language, the Supreme Court had no option but to issue him a contempt,” Tulsi said.
Sinha was in agreement with Tulsi over the former judge’s conduct in the court room and said “in my personal capacity, I feel that his behaviour today in court was inappropriate”.
(With inputs from PTI)