14 Nov 2016
Last week the Supreme Court faced an unprecedented situation - issuance of a 'Contempt of Court' notice to a former Judge of the Supreme Court. This situation arose on account of a decision of the Supreme Court in Govindaswamy v. State of Kerala. Holding a view that this decision was incorrect, a former judge of the Supreme Court Justice M. Katju expressed his views on his blog on a social media website.
Considering that the views of a former Supreme Court Judge were penitent ground for review, the judges who delivered the judgment of the Court in Govindaswamy v. State of Kerala undertook suo-motu review proceedings. More so, possibly to hear first-hand from him, the Supreme Court judges issued a notice to Justice Katju to personally appear in the Supreme Court and justify his stand. This itself was unprecedented as in the history of the Supreme Court of India a former Supreme Court judge has never been called in the Court.
Last week Justice Katju appeared in the Court to explain his stand. The Supreme Court also heard other parties on the review petition and by a detailed order dated 11.11.2016 dismissed the review petition in [SUO MOTU REVIEW PETITION (CRL) NO.1/2016]. However the Supreme Court did not stop here. Being of the opinion that the views expressed by Justice Katju "seem to be an attack on the Judges and not on the judgment", the Supreme Court vide a separate order dated 11.11.2016 has issued notice for contempt of Court to Justice Katju in SUO MOTU CONTEMPT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 4 & 5 OF 2016.
As stated above, this is unprecedented. In the history of the Supreme Court of India there is no parallel to a former Supreme Court judge having been issued notice to defend against contempt of court.
We bring this update to you.