The Supreme Court on Friday, November 11, suspended the Madras High Court’s sentence of six months imprisonment for YouTuber and whistleblower ‘Savukku’ Shankar. A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and JK Maheshwari also directed him not to make any videos or comments about any proceedings before the High Court. 'Savukku' Shankar was found guilty of contempt of court for his remarks against the judiciary, on September 15.
On July 19, Justice GR Swaminathan of the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against Shankar for his remarks against the judiciary. Shankar had tweeted a picture of GR Swaminathan implying that he 'met someone' in a temple in connection with the case against right-wing YouTuber and social media influencer Maridhas. He also said that the “entire higher judiciary is riddled with corruption.” It was against this tweet that the High Court took suo motu cognisance and initiated contempt proceedings.
On September 15, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had sentenced Savukku Shankar to six months of jail for his remarks against the judiciary. The High Court, turning down his appeal to suspend his sentence, said that he did not show remorse for his remarks. “The conduct of the contemnor (Shankar) deserves to be noted. Nowhere he expressed his regret or remorse. He did not offer any apology at all. On the other hand, he asserted that he was justified in making the charged statements. A reading of the charged statements would lead anyone to the conclusion that they are likely to lower the prestige and dignity of courts and judges,” Justice GR Swaminathan had said.
The case pertains to six comments made by Shankar during interviews with two YouTube channels and an article written by him and published on the website savukkuonline.com. In one of the interviews given to a YouTube channel called Red Pix, Shankar alleged that High Court judges were abusing the Personal Security Officer (PSO) system. In another interview to YouTube channel News Sense, he had said, “These judges do not work on behalf of the people. They work for luxuries such as a car and for the benefit of those with money, so why should the general public respect them? You do not give justice to us. You give justice only for the politician, for the rich and powerful."
It was against this Madras High Court order that Shankar filed an appeal at the apex court on October 11.