Former Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju has approached the Supreme Court of India through a writ petition praying for quashing of resolutions passed against him by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for his remarks against Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
The Writ Petition has been filed by Shadan Farasat (Advocate-on-Record) and the blog states that “Senior Advocate Gopal Subramaniam will be Katju’s senior lawyer”.
It is worth noting that Supreme Court had recently in Devidas Tuljapurkar v. State of Maharashtra & Ors, dealt with a case related to defamation of Mahatma Gandhi through alleged obscene poems.
||Writ Petition (C) No. 504 of 2015
- Justice (Retd.) Markandey Katju
- Speaker, Lok Sabha (Representing the Lok Sabha)
- Chairman, Rajya Sabha (Representing the Rajya Sabha)
- Secretary General, Lok Sabha
- Secretary General, Rajya Sabha*
[* The parties appear to have changed after refiling. To be confirmed]
- Justice TS Thakur
- Justice V Gopala Gowda
- Justice R Banumathi
In March 2015, in his blog (www.justicekatju.blogspot.in), Katju had called Mahatma Gandhi a British agent and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose a Japanese agent.
Subsequently his remarks were condemned by the Parliament of India – by Rajya Sabha on 11 March 2015 and by Lok Sabha on 12 March 2015 and both the houses passed resolution against Katju.
Reacting to the action of Rajya Sabha, had blogged:
O wonderful news ! The Rajya Sabha ( the upper House of the Indian Parliament ) has passed a resolution condemning me!
May I make a humble.suggestion to the Hon’ble Members of the House ( because evidently they have run out of ideas ). Just pass a resolution that immediately on my return to India I will be arrested and hanged, drawn and quartered.without any trial. Na rahe baans na baje baansuri!
Later on he protested against
the above resolutions alleging violation of principles of natural justice for being condemned unheard. He also suggested that he would take a legal recourse and said:
Will no one defend me ? And will I not even be allowed to defend myself ?
Defends his stand
In his Writ Petition, a copy of which has been posted on his blog
, Katju has defended his stand on Gandhi, submitting:
…by constantly using religious symbolism in politics for several decades, Gandhiji, in effect furthered the British Policy of Divide and Rule by alienating the Muslim population of the Indian sub-continent away from the national movement.
Defending his words against Bose, petition states:
…through his actions knowingly or unknowingly, he ended up perpetuating Japanese imperial interest in the Indian sub-continent.
Comments were academic in nature
The petition states that his statement was one “made by a private person and were academic in nature and were in fact a manifestation of scientific temper of a citizen.” To support his claim on scientific temper, petition cites a para from Nehru’s ‘Discovery of India’ and Article 51-A (h) of the Constitution of India.
The Petition also refers to the recent Supreme Court judgment in Devidas Tuljapurkar v. State of Maharashtra & Ors and quotes it:
93. There can be no two opinions that one can express his views freely about a historically respected personality showing his disagreement, dissent, criticism, non-acceptance or critical evaluation.
Violation of fundamental rights – Article 14, 21 and 19(1)(a)
Petition states that the resolutions passed by both the Houses of the Parliament were without jurisdiction – without giving the Petitioner [Katju] an opportunity to be heard and hence has caused the violation of the his rights under Article 14, 21 and 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India.
Resolution without Jurisdiction
Claiming that the resolution were without jurisdiciton, Petition states:
17. Thus the Impugned Resolution do not fulfil the jurisdictional requirement, and the necessary jurisdictional facts are lacking. The present case is not a case of mere procedural irregularity. Further, whether or not the Petitioner’s statement are deplorable or condemnable can only be judged by bodies performing judicial function and cannot be decided by the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.
18. That the power to pass resolution as in the instant case, is not a power which depends upon and are is necessary for the conduct of the business of each House, and is therefore not protected under Article 105.
Petition states that Katju has been seriously prejudiced, the condemnation causing grave and irreparable harm to his reputation, and life’s endeavour to uphold the Constitution, fundamental duties, and the rule of law.
The petition makes the following prayer:
A. Quashing the Impugned Resolutions in respect of the Petitioner passed by the Lok Sabha on 12.3.2015 and the Rajya Sabha on 11.3.2015;
IN ALTERNATIVE TO PRAYER (A) ABOVE
B. Directing the Respondent No. 1 and Respondent No. 2 to give the Petitioner a post decisional hearing either himself or through his duly designated lawyer(s), and/or,
C. Pass such other orders as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit in the facts and circumstances of this case
It should be interesting to see how this case turns out to be. We will be back with some legal insight on this Petition.