New Delhi, Aug 23, 2020-
In a relief for Bollywood actor Swara Bhasker, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal refused to give his consent for initiating proceedings for criminal contempt of court against her for allegedly making “derogatory and scandalous” statements against the Supreme Court in connection with Ayodhya title dispute case verdict.
The plea against Swara contended that in February, a society identified as Mumbai Collective organised a conference in which she was a panellist and while addressing the conference, she made a statement “derogatory and scandalous in nature, putting a big question on the judiciary and its integrity to the Constitution”.
It said she seemingly provoked the people to resist the judicial institution of the nation. “.. the objectionable statement is not only a cheap stunt of publicity to gain brief applause but a deliberate attempt to turn the masses to resist and revolt against the apex court,” said the plea filed by advocates Anuj Saxena, Prakash Sharma, and Mahek Maheshwari.
The petitioner contended that the actor’s statements intend to incite a feeling of no confidence amongst the public with respect to proceedings of the apex court and integrity of judges of the top court.
The consent of either the Attorney General or the Solicitor General is necessary under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act 1971, to initiate the contempt proceedings against a person.
In a two-page response on August 21, the AG said the statement made by the actor in the first part appears to be a factual one, and is a perception of the speaker.
The AG said the comment refers to the judgement of the Supreme Court, and is not an attack on the institution. “This does not offer any comment on the Supreme Court itself or say anything that would scandalise or tend to scandalise, or lower or tend to lower the authority of the Supreme Court. In my opinion, the statement does not constitute criminal contempt,” he said.
He contended that the second part of the statement is a vague statement, and it is not connected to any particular court. “Something is so general that no one would take any serious note of this statement,” he added.
Declining to give his consent to initiate contempt proceedings, the AG said he does not think this is a case where the offence of scandalising the court or lowering the authority of the court would arise. (Agency)