The Madras High Court on Thursday held YouTuber Savukku Shankar guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to six months of imprisonment.
Shankar, a former employee of the Tamil Nadu Vigilance department, was held guilty for claiming on YouTube channel Redpix that “the entire judiciary is riddled with corruption”. A bench of Justices GR Swaminathan and B Pugalenthi also refused to put a stay on the order or to suspend Shankar’s sentence till he appeals the verdict in the Supreme Court.
Section 389 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that a convicted person’s sentence can be suspended. This is applicable only when a person has been sentenced to prison for three years or less and that the offences are bailable.
During hearing of the case, Shankar refused to revoke his statement and told the High Court that he stands by his statement, reported The News Minute.
“Some of my comments may seem problematic when viewed in isolation,” he said. “But, the truth becomes clear when seen in its context. It is not my intention to tarnish the dignity of the judiciary.”
This was the second contempt proceedings against the YouTuber.
On July 22, the High Court had initiated the first criminal proceedings after observing that Shankar, in one of his tweets, had implied that Justice GR Swaminathan had “met someone”, allegedly to get a favourable verdict in the case against YouTuber Maridhas.
In December, the Madras High Court had quashed a first information report filed against Maridhas for a tweet on the helicopter crash in which Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others were killed.
Maridhas had claimed that Tamil Nadu was “turning into another Kashmir under DMK [Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam] rule”. He had also claimed that it was possible “for any kind of plot to be hatched here [in Tamil Nadu].”
Bipin Rawat’s chopper had crashed in Tamil Nadu.
In August, the High Court had said that the Shankar made the comments about the judiciary being “riddled with corruption” on July 22, just three days after the first contempt proceedings were initiated.
Justice Swaminathan, who himself heard the case, had said that the Supreme Court has established that if a publication attacks individual judges or the court as a whole or if it casts unwarranted and defamatory aspersions upon the character or ability of the judges, it would amount to “scandalising the court” and therefore, amounted to contempt.