Justice Katju has been given six weeks to respond to the contempt notice.

It was a pre-arranged drama by Justice Gogoi to insult me Katju after face-off with SC judges
news Soumya murder Saturday, November 12, 2016 - 09:59

In perhaps a first in India's judicial history, the Supreme Court of India saw an open face-off between sitting SC judges and a former justice, with the latter being issued a contempt notice by the court. The SC has issued a contempt notice to former apex court judge Markandey Katju for a blog he had written criticising judges. Justice Katju was in the Supreme Court to present his argument on why a three-judge bench was wrong on the Soumya murder case verdict. Legal experts have noted that this is first time in India’s judicial history that a former judge will face contempt. 

Justice Katju has been given six weeks to respond to the contempt notice.

But he chose to respond on his Facebook wall.

Narrating the events of the court on Friday, the former judge hit out at the sitting judges, alleging that they had enacted the entire courtroom drama to insult him. Justice Katju had walked out of the court.

Here is Katju’s post:

“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 realized this was not so, and it was just a pre-arranged drama organized 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 p.m., 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 agent 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 criticized 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 p.m.). 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 3 had been 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”

Katju did not end with that. He has also since posted once more, this time alluding to corruption in the judiciary.

He says, “For long I have been speaking out against the misdeeds of Dattu, Thakur, Anil Dave, and their ilk. So apart from ostracising me ( I am never invited to parties by judges and senior lawyers where retired judges are often invited ) my guess about the event yesterday in Gogoi's courtroom is that a 'surgical strike' was pre planned by Thakur, Dave etc. in cahoots with Gogoi to humiliate me and issue a contempt of court notice to me in order to silence me, and also give a warning to others not to speak out about the misdeeds of judges.

Yesterday in Gogoi's courtroom, where I had come in connection with Soumya's case, I had sat in the front row of lawyers, but I noticed that in the second row many people in plainclothes, who I later realized were security people, were sitting. Evidently Gogoi had shamelessly ordered them earlier to sit there ( though those chairs were meant for lawyers ), and Gogoi had pre planned to have me physically thrown out of the courtroom at some juncture. The whole 'hearing' in Gogoi's courtroom was a drama, as I later realized

This is the shameless level to which people like Gogoi and others who planned all this drama can sink.”

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