Supreme Court of India has refused to stay the contempt notice issued to author Arundhati Roy by the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court. However court has issued notice in her special leave petition to appeal against the contempt notice.
Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court had on December 23, 2015 instituted suo moto criminal contempt proceedings against Roy terming the contents of her article in the Outlook magazine as “scandalous and scurrilous allegations against the judiciary.” Roy had written the article in relation to the rejection of bail to Prof. Saibaba who has been alleged to be a member of Revolutionary Democratic Front, a frontal organisation of banned naxal outfit CPI (Maoist).
Roy’s petition was heard along with the petition of Prof. Saiababa who has also appealed to the Supreme Court against the rejection of his bail application by the High Court. After hearing the petitions, bench comprising of Justices J S Khehar and C Nagappan issued notice in the petitions seeking reply from the respondent state of Maharashtra. Roy was represented by senior advocate C U Singh who sought an exemption for her from her personal appearance in the contempt matter, however the bench declined the same. Bench observed:
You should have no fear in appearing in court. You go and appear. We are here. We have issued the process and we are looking into it. We have thought about it carefully.
Court has given two weeks time to the state of Maharahstra to file its reply.
Earlier in March 2002, Supreme Court had convicted Arundhati Roy for contempt of court and had sentenced her to simple imprisonment of one day for her remarks against the judiciary in relation to the Narmada Bachao Andolan.
The order of the court can be read here.
Image via jeanbaptisteparis.