The Advocate General of Tamil Nadu, Shunmugasundaram, has decided to review the application seeking contempt of court charges against S Gurumurthy, the editor of Thuglak magazine. On Wednesday, October 27, the Advocate General withdrew an order in which his predecessor, Vijay Naryan, had refused consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Gurumurthy.
The application seeking contempt of court proceedings was initially filed by senior advocate Duriasamy, who had approached the court and asked that his plea be properly investigated by the current Advocate General. Following this, Shunmugasundaram recalled his predecessorâ€™s order, and the new Advocate General will now decide whether to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Gurumurthy.
Earlier this year, on January 14, Gurumurthy had passed allegedly derogatory comments against judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts in India at an event held for the magazine's 51st year celebrations. He spoke about the politicisation of the system and had claimed that judges were appointed by politicians and not based on merit. His words were heavily criticised, after which he took to social media to tweet a clarification and expressed regret at his choice of words.
In light of Gurumurthyâ€™s remarks, however, S Duraisamy, a leader of Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, and senior advocate S Kumaradevan had submitted a plea seeking the Advocate Generalâ€™s consent to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Gurumurthy.
â€śIt seems the contemnor S Gurumurthy thinks that he can make any kind of defamatory speech against the high court judges and if any contempt proceedings are initiated, he can be let off by making an unconditional apology,â€ť advocate Duriasamy had said in the letter.
He added that Gurumuthyâ€™s comments were a punishable offence under Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act.
Based on the letter, the then Advocate General Vijay Narayan had asked both parties to appear before him on February 16, 2021, at 4 pm either in person or through a counsel.
Later, however, on March 31, Adv General Vijay Naryan had declined consent to initiate criminal contempt of court proceedings against Gurumurthy. He had observed that the editorâ€™s comments had been â€śimpromptuâ€ť in nature and had added that a clarification had been issued later.