A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court comprising of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice I S Mehta, today while hearing a contempt petition against journalist and Economic Analyst S Gurumurthy stated that social media cannot be used to scandalize the judiciary.
As per reports, the contempt petition was filed by the Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) against S Gurumurthy for posting the tweets asking if Muralidhar J, who had granted bail to Karti Chidambaram in the INX Media bribery case, had been a junior to Karti Chidambaram’s father and Senior Advocate P Chidambaram.
Another Bench of the Delhi High Court had earlier issued a suo motu contempt notice against Gurumurthy last month after he had shared a tweet hinting to bias on the part of Justice Muralidhar after he had passed an order setting aside the transit remand order against alleged Urban Maoist Gautam Navlakha earlier this month.
Gurumurthy’s advocate had said that he was an eminent journalist and the tweet was merely a question and claimed that the petition filed by DHCBA was not maintainable. Justice Mridul observed that the present case does not concern a specific judge but the judicial system. He said, “We are not supposed to defend ourselves on social media. Judges don’t defend themselves. Is this fair comment that you attribute motive to the judiciary? We are dismayed.”
The court also reportedly turned down Gurumurthy’s counsel’s request seeking time to file a reply to the rejoinder filed by the DHCBA saying that there can be no reply to a rejoinder and asked the lawyer to proceed with his defense.
Justice Mridul also expressed his displeasure commenting, “Journalistic license does not give you the right to make unsavoury allegations. We are all in for free press but don’t attribute motive to us”.
The court had directed two social media platforms to block the web links of the offending article leveling ‘scandalous’ allegations against the judge. The matter will be next heard on December 4.