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Madras HC refuses to issue contempt proceedings but gives a note of caution to actor Suriya

The Madras High Court has however remarked that the comments made by Suriya were unnecessary and unwarranted.

Madras HC refuses to issue contempt proceedings but gives a note of caution to actor Suriya
source: PTI; Madras HC refuses to initiate contempt proceedings against Actor Suriya


The First Bench of the Madras High Court constituting Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, on Friday declined to issue criminal contempt proceedings, sought against Actor Suriya for criticising the conduct of NEET, at a time when judges are hearing matters through video conferencing amid the pandemic.

The Court also remarked that the comments made by Suriya were unnecessary and unwarranted, further said that courts in Tamil Nadu had no occasion to adjudicate on the conduct of NEET this year. The Bench also opined that it does not want to take the issue further.

"Exposed as we are to the winds of criticism, nothing which is said by this person or that, nothing which is written by this pen or that, will deter us from doing what the occasion requires, provided that it is pertinent to the matter in hand. Silence is not an option when things are ill done.... The article contains an error, no doubt, but errors do not make it a contempt of court." quoted Madras HC.

As further stated in the order, "... we find that the utterances by the cine actor may have been absolutely unnecessary or even unwarranted, for being ignorant of the manner in which the entire judiciary of this State has served the interest of its citizens during this pandemic, and any such statement could have been avoided in a much more sober way, instead of an accusing tone, which though trivial in nature has raised a storm in a teacup."

" A person in public life enjoys a position because of the responsibility with which he conducts himself and not by making other human activities look small for perceptibly no valid reason, but we would not say anything further, as we find that the NEET Examinations and the dispute around it was not even a subject matter of the Courts in the State of Tamil Nadu. A self-righteous person should himself be humble enough to acknowledge the contribution of others."

Chief Justice AP Sahi remarked, "A language which may, might be perfectly proper if uttered in a temperate manner, be grossly improper if uttered in a different manner. What may appear to be disrespectful may also be short of insult, and may be touching the borders of criticism. A reasonable precaution has to be taken in matters of public affairs, particularly Courts, Judges and their functioning, where fair and temperate criticism should not be contemptuous."

Further pronouncing the judgement, the bench said "A statement made in exuberance may bring about a trial and, therefore, in view of the peculiar status on which this institution is pedestalled under the Constitution, it would be prudent on the part of the individuals to carefully frame their minds and express themselves that may not cross the borders of any fair and just criticism."

"On the other hand, it is not the job of a constitutional Court to use a sledgehammer for the avoidance of something which can be perceived to be not capable of even being propped up as a contempt, much less debated to the level of criminal contempt."

With this, the Madras High Court dismissed the case saying that the case does not deserve to be pursued any further, after their judicious discretion.

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