The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice of criminal contempt to former Army Chief Gen V K Singh,demanding his explanation over his statements against the court verdict on his age row.
A bench of Justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale initiated suo motu contempt proceedings on the basis of a report published in The Indian Express on September 22,which reproduced Singh statements to news agency ANI.
In the contempt notice,the bench mentioned that Singh was said to have issued certain statements to ANI,which prima facie,scandalises or tends to scandalise this court.
It also lowers or tends to lower the authority of this court,which is criminal contempt of court under Article 129 of the Constitution of India,read with Section 2(C) of the Contempt of Courts Act,1971,the bench said.
This court therefore takes cognizance of criminal contempt of court. Let a notice be issued to Gen V K Singh as to why proceedings be not initiated against him under the Contempt of Courts Act,it said.
The court also issued notice to this newspaper,saying Let a notice be also issued to the publisher of The Sunday Express for publishing the above statements of Gen V K Singh.
The bench fixed October 23 as the next date of hearing,and requested Attorney General G E Vahanvati to assist the court.
In its order,the bench noted the facts of how Gen V K Singh approached the apex court to get an order for treating his date of birth as May 10,1951 and not as May 10,1950. A favourable order from the court would have given him an extra year in office.
The bench recounted how Singh’s counsel U U Lalit,after the matter was argued for some time in the court,had sought to withdraw the petition on the ground that Singh did not wish to pursue the case any further.
The court reproduced in Tuesday order three pertinent paragraphs from its February 10,2012 judgment. In the course of hearing,Mr Goolam E Vahanvati,learned Attorney General,stated that the respondent-Union of India had not questioned the integrity or bona fide of the petitioner. He also stated that the contest by the respondent-Union of India to the Writ Petition was on a matter of principle and it did not reflect any lack of faith or confidence in the petitioners ability to lead the Army.
As a matter of fact,the question before us in the Writ Petition is not about the determination of actual date of birth of the petitioner,but it concerns the recognition of a particular date of birth of the petitioner by the respondent in the official service record.
In view of the statement made by Mr Goolam E Vahanvati,learned Attorney General,and the limited controversy in the Writ Petition as indicated above,learned senior counsel for the petitioner does not wish to press the matter further and he seeks withdrawal of the Writ Petition.