The Kerala High Court has on Tuesday sentenced CPM leader M.V. Jayarajan to six months’ imprisonment in a contempt of Court case for his derogatory remarks against High Court judges.
Declaring its verdict Court also slapped a fine of Rs 2000 under the contempt of Court charges. The case was heard by a division bench, consisting of Justice A K Basheer and Justice P Q Barkat Ali.
The High Court had initiated suo motu contempt of court proceedings against Jayarajan after he made critical comments against judges for banning roadside meetings during a public speech in Kannur on June 26 last year.
The court, after examining available documents, video clippings and submissions made by amicus curiae, concluded that there was contempt in his remarks.
Taking a strong view of offensive remarks made against judges and the judiciary by CPI-M leader MV Jayarajan, the Kerala High Court today sentenced him to six months imprisonment for contempt of court.
The division bench held that by making the offending speech at Kannur last year, Jayarajan was ridiculing in public, performance of two high court judges and making "scurrilous, offensive, vicious and malicious onslaught on the higher judiciary that too beyond controllable limits."
The bench comprising justices V Ram Kumar and PQ Barkat Ali held Jayarajan, a former MLA from Kannur, guilty under sec 12 of the Contempt of Court Act and noted during the trial, he had gone to the press justifying his act, including using the word 'shumban' (a derogatory term which in local parlance means a useless person) against the judges.
Jayarajan's plea to suspend the sentence to enable him to file appeal in the Supreme Court was turned down by the court. Immediately after the order was passed, police personnel arrived at the court and took him to Thiruvananthapuram Central Jail.
CPI(M) and DYFI activists, present near the court, raised slogans hailing Jayarajan.
Jayarajan has been ordered to pay a fine of Rs 2000 and in case of default, he will have to undergo an extra month's imprisonment.
Delivering the 137-page judgement, the bench said there were occasions, when after seeking personal exemption from the court, Jayarajan was seen live in media making denigrating statements against the court.
The conduct amounts to tending to substantially interfering with the due course of justice coming in the meaning of Contempt of Court, the bench said.
"Any act creating a wrong impression in the minds of people regarding the fairness of judicial functionary is as such nature that substantially interferes or tends to interfere with justice. Hence, he deserves to be punished and does not deserve any leniency in the punishment," the bench observed.
The high court had suo motu launched contempt proceedings against Jayarajan, a CPI-M state committee member.
According to Jayarajan, he had only criticised the judgement of the High Court as it "violated" the right to conduct roadside meetings enjoyed by the public for centuries.
There is no law preventing such meetings, Jayarajan had submitted claiming that there was widespread protest against the verdict.
Meanwhile, CPIM's Kerala unit secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said the party would appeal against the verdict, terming it as "improper and denial of natural justice".
Vijayan told reporters in Thiruvanathapuram there should be a rethinking on the contempt of court issue.
Jayarajan had only voiced the protest of the people against banning roadside meetings, he said