‘No scandalizing statements but good for Judiciary’, AG KK Venugopal denies consent for Contempt Proceedings against Ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi

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On Saturday, Attorney General K K Venugopal refused to grant sanction to initiate contempt proceedings against former Chief Justice of India (CJI) and Rajya Sabha lawmaker Ranjan Gogoi for his alleged statements against the apex judiciary.

Activist Saket Gokhale had sought consent, a condition precedent for initiating criminal contempt proceedings, of the top-most law officer to initiate the case against the former CJI who had reportedly said at an event that the judiciary is “ramshackled” and it is quite unlikely for a person to get a timely verdict.

“I had the occasion to watch the entirety of the interview. It is obvious that all that has been said was good for the institution and will not any manner scandalise the court or lower its authority in the eyes of law,” Venugopal said in his letter to the activist, denying consent for initiating the proceedings.

Venugopal said that while Justice Gogoi’s statements are strong and reflected his frustration with the ills of the judiciary, it was said for the good of the institution and will not scandalise or lower the authority of the judiciary.

“I had the occasion to watch the entirety of the interview. It is obvious that all that has been said was for the good of the institution and will not in any manner scandalise the court or lower its authority in the eyes of the public,” Venugopal said in his response to Gokhale.

The plea, seeking consent to initiate contempt proceedings against the nominated Rajya Sabha MP, had specifically referred to the statements of Justice Gogoi who had said, “You want a 5 trillion dollar economy but you have a ramshackled judiciary…if you were to go to court, you would only be washing your dirty linen in court. You won’t get a verdict. I have no hesitation in saying it.”

Under the Contempt of Courts Act and the rules, the consent of attorney general or the solicitor general is required for filing a criminal contempt case by a private individual.

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