AG Venugopal declines consent to initiate contempt proceedings against ex-Delhi HC judge, others

Attorney General K K Venugopal has declined his consent to initiate criminal contempt of court proceedings against former Delhi High Court judge Justice S N Dhingra and senior advocates Aman Lekhi and K Rama Kumar for comments on the observations by a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court in the Nupur Sharma case.

Venugopal said that their “statements…are in the realm of fair comment on a hearing conducted” by the top court. The country’s top law officer told advocate C R Jaya Sukin, who had sought his consent, that the “statements are not vituperative or abusive nor are they likely to interfere with the administration of justice by the Supreme Court of India”.

“It may be noted that the Supreme Court, in a large number of judgements, has held that fair and reasonable criticism of a judicial proceedings would not amount to contempt of court,” added Venugopal.

“I am not satisfied that the criticism made by the three persons named in your letter is with malice or is an attempt to impair the administration of justice, or that it was a deliberate and motivated attempt to bring down the image of the judiciary,” he also said.

While hearing Nupur Sharma’s plea seeking clubbing of the multiple FIRs against her in different states for remarks against the Prophet during a TV show, a bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala had on July 1 come down heavily on the former BJP spokesperson.

They said she has a “loose tongue” and is “single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country” including in Udaipur where a tailor was hacked to death recently for allegedly sharing Nupur Sharma’s remarks.

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