The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the criminal contempt proceedings against author and activist Arundhati Roy. The case was being heard by the Nagpur bench of the high court. A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud also granted the leave of appeal to Roy and listed her plea against the issuance of criminal contempt notice by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court for final hearing.
Initially, the court said it wanted to dispose of the case but later considered submissions of senior advocate Chander Uday Singh, appearing for the writer, and observed:”Leave is granted. The proceedings shall remain stayed. Listfor final hearing”.
The apex court had earlier refused to stay the contempt notice issued against Roy by the High Court on December 23, 2015 for her views on the arrest of Saibaba and the rejection of his bail plea early last year. The bench had also declined to exempt her from personal appearance before a single judge of the Nagpur Bench of the high court.
In 2015, the Bombay High Court issued a contempt criminal notice against Roy for criticising its decision to reject former Delhi University professor G N Saibaba’s bail plea.
Justice A B Chaudhari of the HC’s Nagpur bench had observed, “Calling the government and police as being ‘afraid’ of the applicant, ‘abductor’ and ‘thief’, and the magistrate from a ‘small town’, demonstrate the surly, rude and boorish attitude of the author in a most tolerant country like India.”
Saibaba was arrested in 2014 by the Gadchiroli police for his alleged links with Maoists. In an article published by the Outlook, Roy expressed reservations on his arrest too.
“The author has even gone to the extent of scandalising and questioning the credibility of the higher judiciary by giving examples of the orders of bail granted to Babu Bajrangi, Maya Kodnani and Amit Shah,” Justice Chaudhari had said.
with PTI inputs