SC judges, Justice Katju spar in court

New Delhi, A Supreme Court bench and former judge Markandey Katju were locked in an ugly exchange of words on Friday over a blog he had written criticising an apex court verdict.

The exchange took place after the court issued notice to Justice Katju on why contempt proceedings cannot be initiated against him for casting aspersion against the judges in a blog.

This is the first time the apex court has issued such a notice to one of its former judges.

Judges Ranjan Gogoi, Prafulla C. Pant and Uday Umesh Lalit issued the notice to Justice Katju.

Giving Justice Katju eight weeks time to reply, the bench said that in the blog he had criticised the judges and not the judgment.

This was done after showing a copy of his blog to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who said the highlighted paragraph was “intemperate” but would not amount to contempt.

Apparently displeased over the court decision, Justice Katju asked the bench if this was the way they treated a retired judge whom “you have invited” to the court.

He told Justice Gogoi: “You judges should learn how to behave.”

As the judges asked if there was anyone in the court to escort Justice Katju out, he retorted: “Don’t try to scare me. I am not scared of you people.”

Justice Katju was in the court in pursuance of a notice issued to him on October 17 asking him to appear and explain how the court erred in the application of Section 300 of the Code of Criminal Procedure while setting aside the death sentence of a Kerala man convicted for rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman travelling on a train on February 1, 2011.

Justice Katju in his Facebook post had said that the top court had “grievously erred” in its verdict.

Medaram Jathara

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