Justice Katju’s exonerated of contempt charged by Supreme Court


Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju on Friday tendered unconditional apology for contemptuous remarks in his blog to the apex court which was accepted by it and the contempt proceedings closed.

The order was passed by a bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and U U Lalit which accepted the apology and decided to close the contempt proceedings against the former judge.

“In view of the apology tendered, which has been verified, we close the instant contempt proceedings,” it said.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for Justice Katju, read from the reply tendering the apology. Justice Katju was earlier granted exemption from personal appearance.

Justice Katju, against whom contempt notice was issued for allegedly using “intemperate” language and “scandalising” the judiciary in one of his facebook posts, had moved the apex court on 9 December seeking early hearing of the contempt case.

The bench had agreed to the submission for early hearing and had asked Justice Katju’s counsel to file a proper application in this regard.

During a brief hearing today, Dhavan referred to the written response, offering unconditional apology, of Justice Katju which led to closure of the contempt proceedings.

On 11 November, the apex court had issued contempt notice to Justice Katju after taking note of his statement in the blog and had said that it constituted a serious assault on judges and not on the judgement.

Justice Katju had appeared in the court following its October 17 direction asking him to be present and debate his Facebook post criticising an SC verdict by which the convict in the Soumya rape case had escaped gallows as he was acquitted of the murder charge.

It had asked him to appear before the court to point out the “fundamental flaws” in the case.

The issue of contempt was raised after the bench had dismissed the review petitions filed by the Kerala government and the mother of Soumya challenging the acquittal of the convict of the murder charge.

Justice Katju had protested against the decision to issue contempt notice and said the judges were threatening him and it was not proper for them to behave in such manner with a former judge of the apex court.

He was summoned as he in his blog had claimed that there was “grave error” in the judgement acquitting the accused in the murder case and he was asked to assist the bench during the hearing of the review petition.

Justice Katju, through his Facebook post on September 15, had criticised the verdict commuting to life the death sentence awarded to Govindachamy for raping 23-year-old sales representative Soumya on 1 February, 2011, after she fell out a moving train in Kerala.

(With additional inputs from PTI)