The Supreme Court Wednesday said that it welcomes criticism of its judgments, but it cannot brook attribution of motive behind them as it ordered former Army Chief General V K Singh to explain some “serious” statements made by him against the court’s 2012 verdict on his age row.
A bench of Justice R M Lodha and Justice H L Gokhale took up the suo motu contempt petition against Singh and gave him the final opportunity to adduce his written response to the contempt notice by November 15.
“We welcome criticism of the courts’ judgments but motives cannot be attributed. It is so very serious. It is not acceptable to us at all... If one makes remarks like this against the highest court of the land, we are heading for bad days,” remarked the bench while fixing November 20 as the next date.
“We cannot allow the court to be scandalised like this. It is not permissible. It (statements) is striking at the root of the system,” the bench observed during the proceeding, which have been initiated on the basis of a report published in The Indian Express on September 22, reproducing Singh’s statements to news agency ANI.
In the contempt notice, the bench had mentioned that Singh is said to have issued certain statements to ANI which the court said “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,” the court had said on October 1, and requested Attorney General G E Vahanvati to assist.
As the hearing began today, the court expressed its displeasure at the absence of the senior counsel who was supposed to argue for Singh and cautioned him saying: “The Special bench has been constituted only for this matter. Don’t take it casually. We may also ask the contemnor to explain the position if his lawyer is not here. “
Singh, who was present in the court, marked his appearance when the bench asked if the contemnor was present. Initiating his submissions, Vahanvati said that he had procured the original CD of Singh’s interview from ANI and also got prepared translation and transcript of the interview given in Hindi and English. Vahanvati emphasised on expediting the hearing and added he would soon prepare the draft contempt charges too.
The AG, who had defended the Centre on Singh’s age row,