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Karnataka High Court warns intimidation of judges will not be tolerated: Contempt Case

3 min read


Sreya Kanugula

The Karnataka High Court gave a contempt notice to a 72-year-old who had written a threatening letter to the registry of the High Court on the claim that he had made the decision to murder 2 erring judges part of the “highly corrupt 28 Judges of this Court and the Apex Court along with two corrupt Advocates.” 

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum had stated: “The allegations made in the said letter prima facie constitute a criminal contempt under clause (c) of Section 2 of the said Act.”

The letter had been sent on 29th of January to the registry and had claims of scandalous nature on a senior judge that shared the division bench with others who had given an order on the 6th of November in 2020.

The writer alleged that the judge in question had been acting under other retired Hon’ble Supreme Court judges’ influence. 

Suo-motu proceedings were initiated by the bench against Mr. SV Srinivasa Rao on the grounds of the division bench order passed on the 6th of November in 2020. 

In the order given by the court, it was recorded that “No person can be permitted to intimidate or terrorize the Judges by making scandalous, unwarranted and baseless imputations.”

After going through the alleged order and accused’s claims as per the pleadings registered by him, the court stated that:

“It appears that various objectionable allegations have been made by the respondent/accused in the pleadings. The respondent/accused has used very objectionable adjectives about the Judges of the Apex Court and this Court, which cannot be reproduced. The respondent/accused has not even spared the members of the Karnataka State Bar Council and the Bar Council of India while making sweeping and scandalous allegations.”

The bench also noted that this had not been the first time that the accused had made claims and allegations against judges. The court stated:

“Our attention is invited to the order dated 6th August 2010 passed by a Division Bench of this Court. That was a judgment rendered in the contempt petition in which the present respondent/accused was the respondent/accused. This contempt petition was filed on the basis of the similar allegations. As the accused tendered his unconditional apology and assured the Court not to indulge in making such allegations, the Division Bench was persuaded to accept the apology and the proceedings were dropped.” 

Following this, it added that “The allegations made by the respondent accused in the memo of personal appearance dated 4th September 2020, prima facie constitutes a criminal contempt within the meaning of clause (c) of Section 2 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 (for short ‘the said Act’).” 

It added “On the face of it, the allegations tend to scandalize the Courts. Such allegations will definitely interfere with the due course of judicial proceedings. The allegations tend to obstruct the administration of justice. 

The members of the Bar are also an integral part of the judicial system. By making such scandalous allegations against the members of the Bar, if they are deterred from appearing in the cases, it will amount to obstruction in the administration of justice.” 

The following order was passed by the bench in accordance: 

We are satisfied that a prima facie case has been made out to initiate action against the respondent/accused of committing criminal contempt of this Court. Hence, issue a notice in Form-1 in accordance with Rule 8 of the High Court of Karnataka (Contempt of Court Proceedings) Rules, 1981. 

Even a copy of this order shall be forwarded along with the notice. The notice is made returnable on 1st March 2021. The respondent/accused shall appear through video conferencing before the Court and his personal presence is not dispensed with.”

Directions were also given by the bench to the Registrar General to send a copy of the written letter with the date 29th January 2021 to the officer in the police department who was in charge of the High Court’s security since paragraph number 5 of the letter in question stated that the accused had made the decision to murder two Judges along with two Advocates.