The Delhi High Court on Monday initiated contempt proceedings against journalist and Reserve Bank of India Director S Gurumurthy over tweets alleging bias in Justice S Muralidhar’s quashing of activist Gautam Navlakha’s transit remand and house arrest order on October 1, ANI reported. Navlakha is one of five activists arrested in August in the Bhima Koregaon case.
Gurumurthy, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue, had retweeted a link to an article on a blog called “Drishtikone”, which alleged that the Delhi High Court judge’s wife was a close friend of Navlakha and said Muralidhar’s reason for quashing the house arrest order was flimsy.
He had also tweeted: “If only contempt weapon is not there in some court’s hands their judgements can be torn to pieces as judgements rendered because the parties benefiting by the judgements are wife’s ideological associates or the judge’s own. Sorry state of the judiciary.”
The court took cognisance of the writer’s tweets and the article after lawyer Rajshekhar Rao wrote to Chief Justice Rajendra Menon alleging that the article and Gurumurthy’s retweet were deliberate attempts to attack a sitting High Court judge, Bar and Bench reported.
Justices Hima Kohli and Yogesh Khanna issued notices to Gurumurthy, Drishtikone and filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri. The court also ordered that the tweets in question and a YouTube video levelling allegations against Muralidhar be taken down. The matter will be heard next on December 11.
This is not the first time Gurumurthy has levelled allegations of partisanship against Muralidhar. In March, the High Court took cognisance of his tweets on its decision to grant interim relief to former Union Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram in the INX media case. Gurumurthy, in a tweet that was later deleted, had asked if Muralidhar had been a junior to P Chidambaram, who is also a senior lawyer. The court, however, did not initiate contempt proceedings against Gurumurthy and asked the Centre if any action could be taken to protect the judiciary from such “scandalous posts”.