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Court Cuts: When Fali Nariman made snide remarks about Justice Markandey Katju in the Supreme Court

Super Justice (Retd) Markandey Katju to the rescue? wonders Fali
Super Justice (Retd) Markandey Katju to the rescue? wonders Fali

The writ petition of the former Judge of the Supreme Court and former chairman of the Press Council of India, Markandey Katju, challenging the unanimous resolutions passed by both the  Houses of Parliament disapproving of his remarks on Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in March last year, was heard by the Supreme Court’s three Judge bench this forenoon, with the Amicus Curiae, Fali Nariman making a snide remark about the petitioner considering himself a super citizen, by adding ‘former Judge of the Supreme Court’ etc, to his name. 

Nariman asked  if Justice Katju really wanted to challenge the resolutions as any other citizen, why add these qualifications.  

Justice Katju had described Mahatma Gandhi as a British agent and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose as a Japanese agent, provoking Parliament to pass unanimous resolutions condemning his remarks.

Nariman also felt that Justice Katju didn’t do any research before making these observations about these two historical figures, beyond saying that he was saying so on the basis of his reading some books. 

Nariman felt that there was no cause of action in this writ petition, as the resolutions could not be called a censure of Justice Katju.   “Parliament intended only a strong disagreement with him”, Nariman said. 

He asked why the writ petition does not seek relief from any member of Parliament individually.  He answered it saying because the resolution was a collective view of Parliament. 

If it is so, he asked why Parliament is bound to hear Justice Katju - a grievance which he raised in his petition.   The fact that Justice Katju asked for a post-decisional hearing shows that he did not consider it a censure, Nariman argued. 

Earlier, Justice Katju’s counsel, Gopal Subramanium, citing previous cases, submitted that if a body arrogates to itself a censorial jurisdiction, it is a matter of concern. 

As the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi was present, the bench briefly adjourned the case for tomorrow, to enable the AG to make his submissions on the matter.

Photo by Nikhil Kanekal

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