SC upholds Kerala CPI-M leader’s conviction for contempt

New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 30 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday upheld the conviction of Kerala CPI-M leader M.V. Jayarajan for using unparliamentary words against state high court judges but reduced the sentence from six months to four weeks simple imprisonment.

A bench of Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice C. Nagappan while upholding the conviction of Jayarajan said: “He has shown no remorse or contrition for his conduct. Instead, he has vainly etymologised the Sanskrit origin of ‘asumbhan’, fully aware of the fact that in its slang, especially to the rural and rustic persons he was addressing, it conveyed a strong abuse.” .
Holding that the high court had “correctly and condignly committed” Jayarajan for “committing contempt of court and ordered his incarceration”, the court however, reduced his sentence from six months imprisonment to four weeks simple imprisonment.
“We are left in no manner of doubt that he intended to lower the dignity of the court, to obstruct and impede its functioning and not merely to criticise its pronouncement which was not to his liking. His conduct leaves him unquestionably guilty of the offence of contempt of court, calling for him to be punished for his illegal act,” said Justice Sen pronouncing the judgment.
“Judges expect, nay invite, an informed and genuine discussion or criticism of judgments, but to incite a relatively illiterate audience against the judiciary, is not to be ignored. It was, not the petitioner’s province, as exercising his freedom of speech, to advise that ‘if those judges have any self respect, they should resign and quit their offices’,” the court said.
Jayarajan in July 2010 while speaking at a public meeting, after the high court banned road-side meetings, spoke unparliamentary words in the manner the judges pass judgments.
The high court acting on a PIL on his utterances began the trial on October 2010 and convicted him for contempt and awarded six months imprisonment Nov 8, 2011.
However, the two-time former Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) legislator from Kannur was granted bail by the apex court after serving a week in jail.
In his reaction, Jayarajan, 54, said that he accepts the verdict.
Jayarajan thus becomes the first political leader in the state to be jailed in a contempt of court case.
Sources in the Kerala government said that once they get the order, Jayarajan will be arrested.
Jayarajan, 54, is presently a state committee member and is considered as a firebrand leader of the party.