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Attorney General declines consent for contempt proceedings against Bhim Army chief despite agreeing that Azad made scurrilous comments against SC

Delhi-based advocate Vineet Jindal had in the month of August written to the Attorney General drawing his attention towards how Chandrashekhar Azad had disgraced the dignity of the Indian Judiciary.

Attorney General KK Venugopal has refused to give consent to initiate a contempt proceeding against Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, despite agreeing that he had made scurrilous allegations against Supreme Court and its judges. The consent of the attorney general or the solicitor general is required before the Supreme Court can hear a criminal contempt petition filed by a private individual.

In a letter on Thursday to the Delhi-based advocate Vineet Jindal, the complainant, in this case, KK Venugopal wrote that he carefully went through the email sent to him on 27th August 2021, seeking permission to initiate a proceeding of criminal content against Azad.

KK Venugopal opined that it was “true that scurrilous allegations have been made against the judges of the Supreme Court”. Venugopal added that it appeared that the statements of Azad were made with the “intent to be provocative”.

Despite agreeing that the statements were scurrilous and provocative in nature, the Attorney General declined to grant consent to initiate proceedings for criminal contempt against the Bhim Army chief.

Delhi-based advocate Vineet Jindal had in the month of August written to the Attorney General drawing his attention towards how Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Rawan,’ President of Bheem Army and Leader of Azad Samaj Party had disgraced the dignity of the Indian Judiciary. He had said that Azad had passed derogatory and scandalous statements about the Supreme Court of India and its judges during an interview which was aired on a news channel on August 27, 2021, and also widely circulated on the internet.

Azad, according to Jindal, had scandalised the process of selecting judges based on the Collegium. The Delhi-based lawyer had a complaint to the Attorney General that the Azad had alleged that the selection process as totally biased and that it takes place in the interest of sitting judges and their family members. He added that with his remarks, Azad had scandalised the judgments passed by the Supreme Court judges and accused them of being corrupt.

“I am therefore seeking your kind consent under section 15 (1) (b) of the contempt of courts Act 1971, read with rule 3 of the rules to regulate the proceedings for the contempt of the Supreme court 1975 to initiate criminal contempt against Chandrashekhar Azad “Ravan”, the letter read.

Attorney General KK Venugopal sanctions criminal contempt proceedings against DO Politics co-founder Ajeet Bharti

In stark contrast to the above decision, Attorney General KK Venugopal had last month granted sanction to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against YouTuber Ajeet Bharti. The situation was almost identical, as Ajeet Bharti was also accused of criticising the Supreme Court and its judges in one of his videos on the social media platform. Much like the aforementioned complaint against Chandrashekhar Azad, it was alleged that Ajeet Bharti had used “scurrilous” “vituperative” and “highly derogatory” words against Supreme Court and its judges.

“I find that the contents of the video which has been watched by about 1.7 lakh viewers are vituperative, gross and highly derogatory to the Supreme Court of India and the judiciary as a whole being clearly intended to denigrate the courts,” Venugopal said.

A lawyer identified as Kritika Singh had sought to initiate contempt proceedings against Bharti, who runs the DO Politics YouTube channel, on July 1.

Attorney General declines permission for contempt proceedings against Swara Bhaskar 

Attorney General KK Venugopal had in August 2020 declined permission to an advocate to file a contempt plea against actress-cum-activist Swara Bhasker for comments on the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi.

The petition was filed by advocate Anuj Saxena, Prakash Sharma & Mahek Maheshwari on behalf of one Usha Shetty. Reportedly, the petitioners argued that Swara Bhaskar tried to scandalise the court through her comments made during a conference titled, ‘artists against communalism’ that has was held in Mumbai in February 2020.

The petitioners had argued that the actress resorted to a ‘cheap stunt of publicity’ in a bid to make the people revolt against the apex court. The petition reiterated that the objective of her comments was to stir a feeling of ‘no-confidence’ among the masses against the Supreme Court and its judges.

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