Kerala-based businessman Kochouseph Chittilappilly is in trouble for his remarks against a sitting judge of the Kerala High Court. The Advocate-General of Kerala P Sudhakara Prasad has sanctioned two lawyers to move a criminal contempt against Chittilappilly, who owns the V-Guard brand and popular theme park Wonderla.
According to a copy of the sanction order, Chittilappilly had lowered the dignity of the court by writing a letter to the Chief Justice, against personal remarks allegedly made by justice Devan Ramachandran and then leaking it to the media.
Justice Devan was hearing a compensation case involving petitioner Vijeesh Vijayan who was paralysed after an accident in Wonderla back in 2002. Back then, Wonderla was known as Veegaland. In his letter, Chittilappilly wrote to the Chief Justice that justice Devan had made comments about him during the hearing.
The Advocate General gave sanction to advocate S Aswakumar. In the sanction petition, it is alleged that the Chittilappilly leaked the letter to print and electronic media to 'intentionally ridicule the judge' and 'compel the said judge to avoid hearing of the said case'.
The Advocate General also observed that Chittilappilly was not a party to the case. He had made the complaint entirely relying on newspaper and media reports, without independently verifying its veracity.
"If the intention was to bring it to the notice of the honourable Chief Justice about the court proceedings, it is unnecessary to send it to newspapers," the order further read.
The order further stated that the counsel appearing in the compensation case, advocate Saju S Nair, had filed an affidavit stating that judge had not made oral observation against Chittilappilly as reported in newspapers.
According to the Contempt of Courts Act 1972, private persons can only move for criminal contempt with the consent of the Advocate General. If found guilty, the respondent could face a sentence of upto 6 months and Rs 2000 fine under section 12 (1) of the Contempt of Courts Act.