Published On : Mon, Jan 25th, 2016

HC adjourns contempt proceedings against Arundhati Roy till SC decides her plea

Arundhati RoyNagpur: Nagpur: The fiery writer Arundhati Roy, after having failed to get relief from Supreme Court, on Monday appeared in Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court to face contempt proceedings for allegedly criticizing the Court for denying bail to DU Professor G N Saibaba.

Giving a new twist to the contempt case, the Bench of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Vinay Deshpande, under “Not Before Me,” refused to hear the case. Subsequently, the hearing was held before the Division Bench of Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Pradeep Deshmukh. Representing the writer, the senior lawyer K H Deshpande and Akshay Sudame argued on behalf of their client that a High Court judge cannot issue notice in contempt cases. If one has to be issued contempt of court notice then the same is issued through the Chief Justice of the High Court. The lawyer K H Deshpande, to stress his point, mentioned the case of late Balasaheb Thackeray and also submitted a Supreme Court ruling inthis regard.

Disagreeing with the counsellor, Justice Bhushan Gavai posed a pointed poser to him. “If someone hurls chappal (shoe) at the a judge then should he take the chappal first to the Chief Justice for issuing contempt notice.” Replying to the Justice Gavai’s poser, the lawyer Deshpande said that the petitioner in the contempt of court case, which is before you, is a different personality. Even the concerned judge has taken note of this.

The Division Bench, exempting Arundhati Roy from personal appearance in the court, has adjourned the criminal contempt case proceedings against the writer till the Supreme Court decides her plea the hearing oh which is scheduled after two weeks.

The noted author was slapped criminal contempt notice by the High Court in December for her views on the arrest of G N Saibaba and the rejection of his bail plea and had asked her to appear in the court on January 25. Terming her language in the article as “nasty”, the Court had observed “Calling the Government and police as being ‘afraid’ of the applicant, ‘abductor’ and ‘thief’, and the magistrate from a ‘small town’, demonstrate the surly, rude and boorish attitude of the author in a most tolerant country like India.”

After receiving the criminal contempt notice, Arundhati Roy moved the Supreme Court for exemption from appearing before High Court. However, the Apex Court refused to provide any relief to her and directed her to appear in the High Court.