The Delhi High Court has closed contempt proceedings against Anand Ranganathan observing that he did not publish/republish any offending content which gave rise to the contempt proceedings against him after he claimed that he had only exercised his fundamental right of free speech and expression of his thoughts under Article 19 of the Constitution.

The Court directed the contemnors to delete the re-tweets and held that the “articles were mere expression in synchronization with their right to freedom of speech but without intent to cause any disrespect to this Court, we are of the considered opinion that continuation of proceedings in present petition would be sheer wastage of time,” A Division Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Manoj Jain observed.

Senior Advocate and Amicus Curiae Arvind Nigam represented the petitioner, while Advocate J. Sai Deepak appeared for the respondent.

The contempt proceedings were initiated after the Court took cognizance of the articles/statements in respect of the then sitting judge of the High Court, Justice S. Muralidhar.

During the pendency of the petition, some of the contemnors tendered an unconditional apology for tweeting the post and were subsequently removed from the array of parties in the proceedings.

One of the contemnors filed an affidavit that mentioned that there was no mala fide intention behind the publication of the alleged offending article and the publication was also not intended to cause disrespect to the Court and the offending article was removed from the website.

The Court held that “Since the initiators of contemptuous allegations about a sitting judge of this Court have already tendered their unconditional apology before this Court and other respondents have also stated that they have utmost respect for the Court” and held that continuation of such proceedings would be sheer wastage of time.

Subsequently, the High Court closed the proceedings.

Cause Title: Court In Its Own Motion v. S Gurumurthy (2024:DHC:45-DB)

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