The Delhi High Court on Thursday discharged Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue S Gurumurthy in a criminal contempt of court case against him for his tweets about Chief Justice of Orissa High Court S Muralidhar.
The Delhi High Court had taken cognisance of the matter after Gurumurthy posted the tweets about a March 2018 judgement by Justices S Muralidhar and IS Mehta.
The judges had granted interim relief to former Union Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram in the INX media case. In his tweet, which has since been deleted, Gurumurthy, the editor of Tughlak magazine, had asked if Muralidhar had been a junior to P Chidambaram, who is also a senior lawyer.
Muralidhar, who was then a Delhi High Court judge, called for a meeting of the counsels of both parties in the INX media case and clarified that he was a junior only to former Attorney General G Ramaswamy and not to Chidambaram.
Tushar Mehta, who was then the additional solicitor general, had advised Muralidhar to ignore the tweets, saying that the judiciary would not be able to function if it took cognisance of every offensive post on social media.
Muralidhar did not initiate contempt but said that it was for Mehta and the bar to consider if the tweet demanded action, reported Bar and Bench. This prompted the Delhi High Court Bar Association to file a criminal contempt petition against Gurumurthy.
On Thursday, the court noted that the matter has been pending for five years and that it should be put to an end.
Senior Advocate Rakesh Tiku, appearing for the Bar Association, told the court that Gurumurthy’s reply expressing apology can be cited to close the case.
“We accept Mr Gurumurthy’s apology and expression of deep remorse for the subject incident and consider it appropriate to discharge the show cause issued to him in the present contempt petition,” the court said.
Gurumurthy, however, on Friday denied media reports claiming that the court closed the case based on his apology. “The fact is: As my tweet asking whether Justice Muralidhar was P Chidambaram’s junior could have hurt him, I had said in 2018 I regret his hurt,” he said on Twitter. “But refused to apologise as it was not contempt.”
The RSS ideologue said that he had refused to file an affidavit expressing an unconditional apology. He claimed that media reports were presenting his expression of regret from 2018 as his apology.