SC dismisses contempt plea against Kapil Sibal
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Last Updated: Thursday, July 15, 2010, 22:21
New Delhi: In a relief to Union Minister Kapil Sibal, the Supreme Court today dismissed a contempt petition filed against him for allegedly making contemptuous remarks against the judiciary.

A Bench comprising Justices J M Panchal and A K Patnaik said the article in the newspaper, which had quoted Sibal's message on judiciary and legal fraternity published in a magazine, did not impair administration of justice or bring it to disrepute.

"The message partly published by Sibal has various perspectives and did not impair administration of justice or bring it to disrepute. Therefore, it must be held that there was neither criminal contempt nor was there any attempt to commit contempt by Sibal," the bench said.

An excerpt from the message sent by Sibal for publication in a souvenir was published in a daily in which he had raised concern over the "deteriorating moral standard" of legal communities as well as the "integrity" of some in judiciary. Sibal had written the message when he was the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association.

"No case of contempt is made out against any of the respondents," the Bench said.

"Fair and reasonable criticism of judges is no contempt," the bench said adding "fair and constructive criticism (of judicial functioning) must be encouraged as no one, much less judges, claims infallibility."

The petition was filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1995 and subsequently transferred to the Supreme Court.

The apex court also dropped the contempt proceedings against the newspaper in the light of the apology tendered by it.

"If the full text of Sibal was published, it would not have created an impression that attempt was to contempt. In view of the apology, the court is not interested to pursue contempt against the daily," the bench said.


First Published: Thursday, July 15, 2010, 22:21

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