The Supreme Court Thursday disposed a contempt plea against an 88-year-old Chennai-based professor, N Shanmugham, after he expressed his regret for using objectionable language against senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan appearing for the Muslim parties in the Ayodhya case. Dhavan, appearing for the Sunni Wakf Board, had claimed that he received threats for representing the Muslim parties in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case.
Appearing for Dhavan, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said he did not wish any punishment but a message should go to the nation. The top court said there should not be any repeated occurrences.
Dhavan had said that he received a letter on August 14, 2019, from Shanmugam, a retired education officer, threatening him for appearing for the Muslim parties. He also alleged that he has been accosted both at home and in the court premises by several people. He also alleged that he had received a WhatsApp message, which was also an attempt to interfere with the administration of justice before the apex court.
Dhavan, in his plea, said that by sending the letter the alleged contemnor has committed criminal contempt because “he is intimidating a senior advocate who is appearing for a party/parties before the apex court and discharging his duties as a senior advocate and he ought not to have sent such a letter.”
“Exercise suo motu powers under Article 129 of the Constitution of India and Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act taking cognisance of the criminal contempt on the basis of the facts placed on record against the contemnor/opposite party for committing criminal contempt,” the plea had said.
The bench comprising of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, has been conducting daily hearings on appeals against the September 30, 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court which had equally divided the disputed 2.77-acre site among the three main petitioners. Today is the 29th day of the hearing. On Wednesday, CJI Gogii said he hopes to conclude the hearing by October 18.
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