Dramatic scenes at SC: Katju slapped with contempt, thrown out of court
- Justice Katju and Justice Ranjan Gogoi engaged in a heated argument.
- The court threatened to slap contempt of court case on Katju.
- Katju said he was not afraid contempt of court case.
- The court refused to review its judgement in Soumya murder case.
Supreme Court (SC) witnessed unprecedented scenes on Friday when former judge Markandey Katju and Supreme Court Judge Ranjan Gogoi engaged in a heated exchange of words when the court considered the review petition in the sensational Soumya murder case on Friday afternoon. The crowded courtroom witnessed the drama with disbelief and as the court asked Katju to leave the room.
When Katju appeared before the court at around 2 pm on Friday, it granted him 30 minutes to explain why the court's judgement in the murder case was wrong as he argued in a Facebook post. Katju wanted an hour to explain his part.
In an hour-long argument, Katju tried to point out the 'errors' in the court's earlier verdict that annulled the capital punishment awarded to Soumya rape and murder convict Govindachami. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for the Kerala government also put forth his argument. But the court refused to review its earlier judgement stating that there was nothing new in the arguments of Katju and Rohatgi.
After giving its verdict, the three-member bench asked Katju what he felt about the judgement to which he stated that it was a very unfortunate one.
Then Justice Gogoi signed a contempt of court notice and handed it over to Katju for criticising and shaming the court through a Facebook post, Asianet News reports
Katju responded saying that it was unfortunate and that he was not afraid of the contempt of court proceedings. While responding, he addressed the justice as Mr Ranjan Gogoi. This was followed by a verbal exchange between Justice Gogoi and Katju. The court warned that he was forcing the court to impose section 4 of the Contempt of Court Act. Defiant Katju was unperturbed and the exchange of words continued.
Much to the embarrassment of the former judge, the court asked him to the court immediately. Is there nobody to take him out of the court, the judge wondered.
It was the first time in Indian Judicial history that a former judge was summoned to the court considering his Facebook post as a petition to review a judgement.
Again, it was the first time, the SC is serving a contempt of court notice to a former judge in person. Maybe, it is the first instance in which a former judge is shown the door by the court.
On October 17, the SC decided to summon Katju who criticised its verdict on 15 September cancelling the death penalty awarded to Govindachami in Soumya murder and rape case.
Katju had sharply criticised the judgement in a Facebook post, calling for a review in an open court. Taking the views of the former judge seriously, the court issued a notice to Katju urging him to appear before the court in person and give an explanation about the comment.
The court took Suo Motu cognizance of the Facebook post calling the apex court verdict as "grievously erred by law." The court posted the review petitions filed by Kerala Govt. and mother of Soumya for November 11.