AUTHOR ARUNDHATI Roy was Wednesday issued a criminal contempt notice by the Bombay High Court, for her views on the arrest of Delhi University professor G N Saibaba and the rejection of his bail plea earlier this year. The court said Roy appeared to believe that she was “above the law”.
The court made the observation while rejecting Saibaba’s bail plea on Wednesday. The Gadchiroli police arrested Saibaba last year for alleged links with Maoists. He has been on bail since June, extended later till December 31. Roy had expressed her views on the arrest in an article published this May in Outlook magazine.
Terming her language in the article as “nasty”, the judge wondered if one could relate it to the awards she has won. “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,” Justice A B Chaudhari of the HC’s Nagpur bench observed. The article, which Justice Chaudhari said contained “scurrilous” remarks against the police, the state machinery and the judiciary, has been reproduced in his judgment.
Justice Chaudhari said a careful reading of the article revealed Roy’s “game plan” to have an order in Saibaba’s favour on merit as well as on medical grounds. He said that she “knew well” that Saibaba’s bail plea had been rejected by Judge S B Shukre. Instead of challenging the order, Roy chose to bash the Centre, the state government, the police machinery and the judiciary, the court said, “prima facie with a mala fide motive to interfere in the administration of justice.”
The court questioned if Roy was an eyewitness to Saibaba’s arrest, given her description of his innocence. The next question was on Roy’s knowledge of Saibaba’s medical condition. The court said it stemmed from her “imagination” and “bombastic ideas” .
“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 said.
The judge also noted that Roy was earlier convicted by the Supreme Court for contempt, She has to reply to the notice by January 25, 2016.