The difficulty of initiating contempt of court proceedings against actor S. Surya following his statements on the judiciary has evoked differing appeals, each for and against such action. Sitting Madras High Court choose, Justice S.M. Subramaniam has written to Chief Justice A.P. Sahi to take contempt of court action against the actor for criticising the judiciary and for undermining the integrity of judges in addition to the judicial system.
On the opposite hand, six retired High Court judges — Ok. Chandru, Ok.N. Basha, T. Sudanthiram, D. Hariparanthaman, Ok. Kannan and G.M. Akbar Ali — and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) chief M.H. Jawahirullah on Monday requested Chief Justice Sahi to not take contempt of court action against the actor as it could impression freedom of expression.
The six retired judges stated that the matter must be left as it’s. “It is our duty to make this appeal to your good selves so that the court is rid of any unnecessary controversies,” stated a letter signed by Justice Chandru (retd) on behalf of all different 5 retired judges.
MMK chief Jawahirullah stated Surya, citing the digital listening to of the circumstances by the courts as a result of Covid-19 pandemic, had questioned if it was proper on the half of judges to order college students to write down the NEET exams, and if Surya’s views are taken as contempt of court, it goes against the liberty of expression assured within the Constitution.
In a letter to Chief Justice Sahi, objecting to the actor’s assertion, Justice Subramaniam stated, in his view, Surya’s assertion quantities to contempt of court because the judiciary has been criticised and the integrity and devotion of the judges in addition to judicial system have been undermined.
He contended that Surya’s assertion “… reveals that the Hon’ble Judges are afraid of their own life and rendering justice through video conferencing. While so, they have no moral (right) to pass orders directing the students to appear for NEET Exam without fear”.
“The said statement, in my considered opinion, amounts to contempt of court as the integrity and devotion of the Hon’ble Judges as well as the Judicial System of our Great Nation are not only undermined but criticised in a bad shape, wherein there is threat for the public confidence on the Judiciary.
“Thus, Cine Actor Mr Surya has dedicated contempt, warranting contempt proceedings to uphold the majesty of our Indian Judicial System,” Justice Subramaniam said.
Differing with Justice Subramaniam, the six retired judges, in their letter to the Chief Justice, said “such a development made on the assertion of Surya shall be barely off the mark and it doesn’t require any action as requested by the realized Judge”.
“When 4 college students had dedicated suicide within the state fearing the NEET examination, a creative particular person’s over-reaction shouldn’t be taken critically and out of context,” they said.
However, supporting Justice Subramaniam’s views, the Tamil Nadu Advocates’ Association (TNAA) in a letter to the Chief Justice condemned Surya’s statement.
According to the TNAA letter written by its President S. Prabhakaran, the actor, by criticising the administration and judicial functioning, has brought down the reputation of the judiciary.
Prabhakaran said Surya had issued the statement with an intention to ban NEET which is a matter before the apex court.
He said the apex court is issuing guidelines on the conduct of the NEET and had rejected the plea for online exams.