‘Am I to be thrown out of court like a common vagabond?’
After dismissing petitions by Kerala and Soumya’s mother seeking death penalty for Govindachamy, the Supreme Court on Friday issued a contempt of court notice to Justice Markandey Katju. This is the first occasion in judicial history when a former judge of SC faces contempt charge in the apex court.
Justice Markandey Katju accused that the issuing of contempt notice to him was premeditated and the three-judge bench was doing a drama in the court. After receiving the contempt of court notice, Justice Katju went ballistic on the bench presided over by Justice Ranjan Gogoi on the social media.
Here is the full text of Justice Katju’s Facebook post which has now been removed from his page :
Let me say what happened in the Supreme Court today. I had been requested by the Supreme Court to personally appear on 11th November at 2 p.m. in the Soumya review matter and explain my view that the accused Govindachamy was guilty of murder ( which I had expressed in my facebook page ) Accordingly I prepared the case and was present in Court at that time. There was a huge crowd of lawyers and media persons present. I was coming to the Supreme Court over 5 years after my retirement in September 2011. I had thought that the bench presided over by Justice Gogoi genuinely wanted my assistance to reconsider and review Soumya’s case, in which I felt grave injustice had been done.
As the hearing proceeded, I realised this was not so, and it was just a pre-arranged drama organised by Gogoi , and there was no genuine intention to review Soumya’s case, but only a pretence to do so, and make it an occasion to humiliate me and then issue contempt of court notice against me.
When I stood up at 2 pm, and before I could speak, Gogoi said: “We can give you only 30 minutes to argue”. I submitted that I could not possibly make my submissions in 30 minutes as many facts had to be explained, and I needed at least 1 hour. After all, it was the Supreme Court which had requested me to appear, and I had not come on my own. I had spent many days ( and nights ) preparing my submissions. Reluctantly, Gogoi agreed.
I started by quoting Lord Denning, who said that the judge has not been born who has not made a mistake. At this, Gogoi got annoyed. He interrupted and said: “Don’t give us such lectures, and come to the point”. I kept tolerating such insults from Gogoi, who was much junior to me as a judge, and evidently does not know how to behave to his elders and seniors. I then argued for about 45 minutes. During this period, Gogoi made many sarcastic comments like ” Drink some water “, and only pretended to be hearing me (because none of my submissions were noticed in the order he passed).
When I began submitting that the Supreme Court had committed a grave error of law in relying on the statement of a middle-aged man who was never produced in court, and wanted to give my reasons, Gogoi rudely interjected me, and said that if I persisted in this argument some action may have to be taken against me because of some other blogs I had written regarding the Soumya case. This was a clear threat by Gogoi to me, and I responded by saying that he can do whatever he wants. Then Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi argued, and then some other lawyers. Gogoi then dictated the order rejecting the review petition, without dealing with the submissions I had made .Then Gogoi took out from his pocket printouts of two of my blogs in which I had criticised the Supreme Court judgment in Soumya’s case. He asked me whether I had written these blogs? I said I had. He then said he was issuing contempt of court notice to me (evidently this must have been pre-decided with Pant and Lalit before 2 pm). I said I had come to court because I had been requested to do so to explain my point of view in Soumya’s case, but had not expected this entirely new turn of events.
I had been a Supreme Court judge when all these three were High Court Judges. Pant had in fact been a Joint Registrar in Allahabad High Court when I had been a Judge there, but today he addressed me as Mr. Katju, although there is a Govt. of India notification which says that a retired Supreme Court and High Court judges are to be addressed as ‘Justice ‘.
Gogoi then again said he was issuing contempt of court notice against me (it seems he, Pant, and Lalit had pre-decided this action before lunch, and were only doing a drama in court). I said don’t give a threat to me. At this Gogoi totally lost his balance and told the court security staff ” Escort him out of court “. At this I said “I had come here at your request. Is this how a former judge of the Supreme Court is to be treated? Is this how sitting Supreme Court judges should behave? Am I to be thrown out of Court like a common vagabond?”Gogoi then again made some sarcastic remark and rose with the others.
(This post seems to be removed from his page )