TMC politician Saket Gokhale has written to Attorney General of India K.K. Venugopal, requesting that criminal contempt proceedings be initiated against the web portal OpIndia for allegedly insulting the Supreme Court with its oral remarks in former BJP Spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s case.
The development comes after the Supreme Court slammed Nupur Sharma earlier this week at a hearing on her appeal to club FIRs for insults on Prophet Mohammed. The former BJP spokesperson was chastised by the vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala for making “disturbing” statements about the Prophet.
It was also observed that she only offered a “conditional apology,” and only after a public outcry over her remarks.
Nupur Sharma, an ex-BJP spokesperson, appealed to The Supreme court on July 1st to save her life. All she wanted was for various FIRs filed against her to be clubbed so she wouldn’t have to go from city to city cooperating with the inquiry.
She has been receiving murder and rape threats on a regular basis, and travelling would be dangerous due to security concerns. She did not refuse to assist the probe. She did not request that the FIRs against her be dismissed by the Supreme Court. She simply did not want her life to be jeopardised during the investigation.
The Supreme Court made mockery of her when they inquired if she was under threat or had become a threat.
The statements made by the Judges while dispensing the matter were not included in the written order, making these remarks their personal opinions rather than those of the Supreme Court.
In the letter appeal, Gokhale has requested contempt proceedings against the online portal for their tweets and articles, stating that they not only questioned the integrity of the Supreme Court, but also attempt to scandalise the nation’s top judiciary.
Aside from the online portal, the letter requests that contempt proceedings be initiated against its editor, Nupur J Sharma.
On July 1, OP India tweeted, “Supreme Court speaks like Islamists, conducts witch hunt, blames Nupur Sharma’s ‘loose mouth’ for Hindu man’s beheading by Islamic fanatics.”
“The above-mentioned tweets of OpIndia and statements from the articles published by them and written by their editor Nupur J Sharma clearly scandalize and lower the authority of the Supreme Court of India in the minds of ordinary Indians and casts grave, false, and malicious aspersions on the oral observations made by the respective Division Bench of the Supreme Court of India.”SAKET GOKHALE
OpIndia, criticised the Judges’ observations, asking them if they would blame the “loose tongues” of their fellow Judges for the threats they receive from Islamists after delivering judgments in certain cases, such as the Ram Janmabhoomi case, the Hijab verdict, and the Gyanvapi case, to name a few.
OP India claimed that their previous headline stated that the Supreme Court had spoken in the language of Islamists, but because the observations were not included in the written judgement, they were forced to revise it and criticise the Judges individually rather than the Supreme Court.
According to Saket Gokhale, Opindia disrespected the Supreme Court and “twisted” its findings in the Nupur Sharma case. The editor-in-chief of OpIndia, Nupur J Sharma said, ” Of course, he’s just saying this. He wants to go after OpIndia to demonstrate a point: when the Judges rule in our favour, they cannot be criticised”.
Nupur J Sharma added, “TMC leader Saket Gokhale, who has taken donation money from unsuspecting Muslims to fund his own lifestyle, took offence. Today, he wrote a letter to the Attorney General of India, demanding that criminal contempt charges be brought against OpIndia and me, as the editor-in-chief of the platform and author of the article, because we lowered the majesty of the Supreme Court.”
“Let me state my position as clearly as I possibly can without going into the merits of Nupur Sharma’s case because that is not the purpose of this article. A woman is being told that she will soon be beheaded. She is being told that Islamists will find her and gang-rape her. She is being told that she will be chopped into pieces and thrown in the gutter. The ones issuing these threats have proved that they will act upon it – they beheaded Kanhaiya Lal for supporting Nupur Sharma, they beheaded Umesh Kohli for supporting her and have rioted on the streets demanding “Sar Tan Se Juda”. The Judges, in this case, provided sanctity to the offence that allows them to murder by saying Nupur Sharma was responsible for Kanhaiya Lal’s murder, thereby almost exonerating the Islamists and their religious hate that led to the murder. I, as a journalist and a woman, will not stand quietly. I, as a journalist and a woman, stand by every word I have written against the observations of the Supreme Court. If contempt charges are brought against me – I will fight them. If Bharat, this ancient civilisation, can bring itself to have a discussion around the restraint that Judges should exercise in making unnecessary comments because of my “loose tongue”, so be it. Bring it on.”NUPUR J SHARMA ( Editor-in-chief OpIndia)
Nupur J Sharma went on to say that the comments were illegal and went against their brief. SN Dhingra, a retired judge, has slammed the Judges for their “political comments.”
“Supreme Court has apparently said that Nupur Sharma was high on the power she had as a member of the ruling party and she carelessly went on to make those comments. As per my conscience, the same things also apply to the Supreme Court. Supreme Court itself cannot hold anyone guilty without any investigation. The case was put in front of the Supreme Court only for transferring the FIRs and not for proving any charges against her. I don’t understand how the Supreme Court can make such oral observations? If the Supreme Court had guts, it would have given those comments as a part of the written order. The Supreme Court has only written in the order that the petition is dismissed as withdrawn. Why? Why did the court not include its comments in the written order so that the Supreme Court could be held answerable to the questions like – how is it righteous of you to consider her guilty without any trial of the case, to become a prosecutor yourself, to charge the accused on your own, and declare her guilty only to deliver your judgment orally?”JUSTICE S N DHINGRA
According to Gokhale’s letter, the alleged conduct are plainly punishable as criminal contempt of court under Section 2(b)(i) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971. The letter thus requests the AG’s permission to initiate contempt of court charges against the OpIndia website and its editor, Nupur J Sharma.