The High Court took suo motu cognisance of Savukku Shankar’s tweet suggesting a connection between Justice GR Swaminathan and YouTuber Maridhas.

Savukku ShankarRedPix|Screengrab
news Court Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - 15:47

Justice GR Swaminathan of the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court, on Tuesday, July 19, has directed the court registry to begin suo motu contempt proceedings against YouTuber Savukku Shankar, for his tweet about the judge. The tweet, with a picture of GR Swaminathan, implied that the judge 'met someone' at the Azhagar temple in Madurai in connection with the case against right-wing YouTuber and social media influencer Maridhas.

Shankar had implied in his tweet that Justice GR Swaminathan had ‘met someone,’ allegedly to get a favourable verdict against Maridhas, who was for his tweet against the DMK government in Tamil Nadu. “Sir, you can ask me anything. Do not speak in court. Whom did you meet at 6 am in Alagar temple while investigating Maridas’ case? @LiveLawIndia,” Shankar had said in his tweet, which is now inaccessible as his account has been withheld in India.

In December 2021, a bench led by Justice GR Swaminathan quashed the case filed against Maridhas. The YouTuber had been arrested for his tweet where he said that Tamil Nadu is “turning into another Kashmir under DMK rule”. The judge, quashing the case, had said that YouTubers also have the same rights accorded to journalists and also have the freedom of speech and expression. He also noted that Maridhas had “probably realised his mistake” and had deleted the tweet. 

Savukku Shankar’s Twitter account was withheld in India on a legal demand on July 5, 2022. His tweets have been critical of the current DMK-led government, the orderly system in the police force and also of  Justice GR Swaminathan. However, he has created another Twitter account and has been criticising the judge. The YouTuber has criticised the judgements delivered by the bench led by justice GR Swaminathan and has uploaded videos about the same on his YouTube channel as well.

In 2014, Savukku Shankar’s website ‘Savukku’ was banned by the High Court after Sun News newsreader and lawyer Mahalakshmi filed a case against the website for publishing defamatory articles against her. The website became popular in 2014 when it leaked tapes related to the 2G spectrum allocation. In May 2022, he was named in an FIR that was filed against bi-weekly Tamil magazine Junior Vikatan. Savukku Shankar and Maridhas were booked based on a complaint filed by G Square Realtors for writing and publishing defamatory content about the company. 

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