Madras High Court declines to initiate contempt proceedings against actor Surya

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The court dismissed the plea with an advice to the cine actor to be prudent i framing their minds and expressions 

The Madras High Court on Friday, September 18, declined to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against actor Surya for his comments against the judiciary made in the light of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).

The actor’s statement in the wake of alleged suicides of three medical students that the court that rendered justice through video conferencing, ordered students to sit for examination without fear had evoked the demand for contempt proceedings against him.

Justice S M Subramaniam of the high court was the first to come up with the demand. In a letter to Chief Justice Sahi, he had said the statement "amounted to contempt of court as the actor had questioned the integrity and devotion of the honourable judges as well as the judicial system.

“Surya "committed contempt, warranting contempt proceedings to uphold the majesty of our Indian judicial system," the Judge had said. However, the state Advocate General Vijay Narayanan and several other judges said the suggestion was uncalled for.

On Friday, a bench, comprising Chief Justice AP Sahi and J Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, concurred with the Advocate General Vijay Narayan who declined to give consent to initiate contempt proceedings against the actor.

"This matter, therefore, in our judicious discretion does not deserve to be pursued further and we entirely agree with the opinion expressed by the learned Advocate General," the bench observed.

However, the court asked the cine actor to consider his words before speaking. “A statement made in exuberance may bring about a trial and, therefore, in view of the peculiar status on which this institution is pedestalled under the Constitution, it would be prudent on the part of the individuals to carefully frame their minds and express themselves that may not cross the borders of any fair and just criticism,” the court was quoted by News Minute as saying.

The court further criticised Suriya and said, "Drawing support from what we have expressed herein above, we find that the utterances by  actor may have been absolutely unnecessary or even unwarranted, for being ignorant of the manner in which the entire judiciary of this State has served the interest of its citizens during this pandemic, and any such statement could have been avoided in a much more sober way, instead of an accusing tone, which though trivial in nature has raised a storm in a tea cup."

The court, however, noted that Suriya’s remarks neither amount to contempt nor to the level of criminal contempt. “On the other hand, it is not the job of a constitutional Court to use a sledgehammer for avoidance of something which can be perceived to be not capable of even being propped up as a contempt, much

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