Attorney General KK Venugopal has refused to grant sanction to initiate contempt proceedings against former Chief Justice of India (CJI) and Rajya Sabha MP Ranjan Gogoi for his alleged statements against the apex judiciary.
Activist Saket Gokhale had sought consent of the topmost law officer to initiate the case against Gogoi, who had reportedly said at an event that the judiciary is “ramshackled” and it is quite unlikely for a person to get a timely verdict.
“I had the occasion to watch the entirety of the interview. It is obvious that all that has been said was good for the institution and will not any manner scandalise the court or lower its authority in the eyes of law,” Venugopal wrote in his letter to the activist, denying consent for initiating the proceedings.
Venugopal said though the ex-CJI’s statements were strong, they reflected his views on the ills of the judiciary.
The plea, seeking consent to initiate contempt proceedings against the nominated Rajya Sabha MP, had specifically referred to the statements of Justice Gogoi who had said, “You want a 5 trillion-dollar economy but you have a ramshackled judiciary…if you were to go to court, you would only be washing your dirty linen in court. You won’t get a verdict. I have no hesitation in saying it.”
The former judge had also said, “Only corporations willing to take chances with their millions of rupees go to Supreme Court,” according to a report in livelaw.
Gokhale had said that Gogoi’s statements constituted gross contempt of court, and stressed that it had come from not a mere layperson, but someone who sat on the highest seat of the judiciary.
The rights activist also brought to notice the contempt cases against comedian Kunal Kamra and artist Rachita Taneja, stating that the prosecution consent granted by the AG’s office in those contempt cases established a benchmark of what constitutes a contempt of court, the livelaw report said.
Under the Contempt of Courts Act and the rules, the consent of the attorney general or the solicitor general is required for filing a criminal contempt case by a private individual.