Madras High Court Initiates Suo Muto Contempt Against Savukku Shankar, Quotes From Justice Pardiwala's Remarks About Social Media
The Madras High Court has initiated Suo Motu criminal contempt against YouTuber/Blogger Savukku Shankar.
Justice G. R. Swaminathan has directed Savukku to appear before the Court to show cause to why further action should not be taken against him.
The Court has also directed the Registry to implead the social media intermediaries such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to the petition to consider the larger question about the social media intermediaries and their "compliance officers and their duty is to ensure that content scandalizing judges and judiciary are not posted and if posted, are taken down".
In the Order, the Judge quotes from Justice JB Pardiwala's recent lecture where he had "bemoaned the negative trends in the social media".
About the alleged contemnor, Justice Swaminathan says, "He is unsparing in his attack on individuals and institutions including the judiciary. While even strident criticism is permissible, defamatory vilification is not. He has been focussing his gaze on me for the last several months. He had commented on many of my judgments in the most uncharitable language. His attacks have often been personal. Since I am a strong believer in upholding freedom of speech and expression, I did not pay heed to them. However, his latest tweet appears to have crossed the lakshman rekha".
Savakku had made some remarks on social media after Justice Swaminathan's Court had quashed the criminal case against YouTuber Mridhas. "By this innuendo, Thiru.Shankar is suggesting that the outcome of the Maridhas case was influenced by the person I am alleged to have met. This is clearly scandalizing the judiciary. Prima facie Thiru.Shankar had committed criminal contempt", the Order says.
The Court notes that the Order to issue notice to Shankar was dictated in the open court in the morning and before it was signed, he had come out with another tweet about the Judge.
Justice Swaminathan reproduces a table about the rate of disposal of cases by him and says that "For the salary drawn by me and the perquisites enjoyed , I believe I have worked to the fullest. I have been able to achieve this result by sitting from 09.30 A.M onwards and beyond the court hours. Thiru.Shankar had been poking fun at my sitting hours. I felt vindicated when His Lordship The Hon'ble Mr.Justice U.U.Lalit spoke in support of early sitting".
The Court also notes in the Order that Shankar who was employed in the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti Corruption as a ministerial staff is said to be getting Subsistence Allowance for several years. "A person who is getting paid by the State without doing any work has the audacity to mock at a Judge who feels he must justify every paise that he gets from the exchequer", the Court notes in the Order.
"I take judicial notice of the fact that the Twitter account of Thiru.Savukku Shankar was recently suspended. But he has managed to create an alternative account. In mythology, whenever the head of an asura is slayed, another one will pop up. Thiru.Savukku Shankar appears to have taken inspiration from such mythological characters", the Court says in the Order.