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SC upholds contempt jail of Kerala politician who called high court judges 'idiots' [UPDATE: READ JUDGMENT]

The Supreme Court Friday upheld the conviction of Kerala CPM leader MV Jayarajan for calling state high court judges “idiots”, but reduced the sentence from six months to four weeks.

An apex court bench headed by Justice Vikramajit Sen upheld Jayarajan’s conviction holding that he has no remorse for his utterances against high court judges.

Jayarajan had uttered the pejorative in a 2009 roadside meeting.

The high court taking suo moto cognisance of his utterances convicted him for contempt and awarded his six months imprisonment in 2010

However, he was granted bail by the apex court after serving a week in jail.

According to the judgment, he had said in his speech:

Today disregarding the verdict of those Judges and flouting their judgments, people throughout the length and breadth of Kerala are organizing public meetings and rallies. Why should those Judges sit in glass houses and pass verdicts any more? If they have any self respect they should resign and step down from their office. The judiciary can attain greatness only when judgments acceptable to the country and obeyed by the people are passed. Today judiciary is the refuge. If the Legislature exceeds its limits there is the judiciary which comes to the rescue. But if the judiciary exceeds its limits who will tether the judiciary. In a democracy people are the supreme. Judges are to interpret the laws and interpret the intention of the Legislature which had made the laws and pass orders accordingly. Unfortunately, what some idiots (fools) occupying our seat of justice say is nothing else.”

Justice Vikaramajit Sen held:

Having perused the translations of his speech, we are left in no manner of doubt that he intended to lower the dignity of Court, to obstruct and impede its functioning and not merely to criticise its pronouncement which was not to his liking. His conduct leaves him unquestionably guilty of the offence of Contempt of Courts, calling for him to be punished for his illegal act. He has shown no remorse or contrition for his conduct. Instead, he has vainly etymologised the Sanskrit origin of ‘sumbhan’, fully aware of the fact that in its slang, especially to the rural and rustic persons he was addressing, it conveyed a strong abuse. Judges expect, nay invite, an informed and genuine discussion or criticism of judgments, but to incite a relatively illiterate audience against the Judiciary, is not to be ignored. It was, not the Petitioner’s province, as exercising his freedom of speech, to advise that “if those judges have any self respect, they should resign and quit their offices”

Update: Download judgment (PDF)

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