In an unprecedented action, the Supreme Court today issued notice of contempt to its former judge Markandey Katju for using “intemperate” language and “scandalising” judiciary as he appeared before a bench and had heated exchanges with it.
A bench comprising justices Ranjan Gogoi, P C Pant and U U Lalit said Katju’s statement in a recent blog constituted a serious assault on judges and not on the judgement and therefore the notice of contempt to him.
Katju protested against the decision saying 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.
“I am not scared of it. Don’t give me threat,” the former judge remarked as Justice Gogoi pronounced the order in a surcharged atmosphere.
Justice Gogoi warned him saying “don’t provoke us any more” to which Katju said “you are provoking me by this type of threat. You requested me to come here and assist you.”
At this point, Justice Gogoi asked, “is there somebody to escort Justice Katju (out)”. Katju replied, “What is this behaviour. On your request I came here. Is this the way I am to be treated.”
However, the Bench continued with the dictation of the order saying that prima facie the statement (of Katju) constituted a serious assault on judges and not on judgement.
Therefore a notice of contempt.”
The issue of contempt was raised after the bench had dismissed the review petitions filed by Kerala government and mother of Soumya challenging the acquittal of the convict of the murder charge.
Justice Katju was summoned as he in his blog had claimed that there was error in the judgement acquitting the accused for the murder and he was asked to assist the bench during the hearing of the review petition.
Addressing Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Katju said a Supreme Court judge should not behave like this and it was like a threat to him.
“Don’t try to be funny with me. I came on your request.
Don’t treat me like this,” he said after Justice Ranjan Gogoi pronounced the order as to why a contempt proceeding be not initiated against him for scandalising the judiciary.