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