New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sentenced three men to three-months imprisonment after they were held guilty of contempt of court for levelling "scurrilous and scandalous allegations" against sitting apex court judges.
A bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Anirudhha Bose said, "In view of the scurrilous and scandalous allegations levelled against the judges of this court and no remorse being shown by any of the contemnors, we are of the considered view that they cannot be let off leniently."
The three men who have been sentenced include Indian Bar Association national president Nilesh Ojha, its Maharashtra and Goa state unit chief Vijay Kurle and Human Rights Security Council national secretary Rashid Khan Pathan.
The contemnors had made serious allegations against Justices R.F. Nariman and Vineet Saran in a contempt case against Mumbai-based lawyer Mathew J. Nedumpara.
Meanwhile, one of the contemnors filed an application seeking recusal of Justice Gupta citing that the bench is in a hurry to decide the matter. However, the application was dismissed.
The contemnors also filed a recall of the judgement, which held them guilty. "No recall application can lie on these grounds and the proper remedy for the contemnors is to file a review petition, if so advised. We, therefore, reject all the three recall applications as being not maintainable without expressing any opinion on the grounds raised therein," said the top court.
The Supreme Court also observed that none of them argued on the sentence.
The court observed that there is not an iota of remorse or any semblance of apology on behalf of the contemnors. "Since they have not argued on the sentence, we have to decide the sentence without assistance of the contemnors," the court said.
However, keeping in view the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown conditions, the court directed that this sentence shall come into force after 16 weeks from Wednesday when the contemnors should surrender before the Secretary General of the top court to undergo the imprisonment sentence. Otherwise, warrants for their arrest shall be issued, said the court.
Last month, the apex court had held the trio guilty of contempt of court for scandalising the judiciary by levelling baseless allegations. The bench had observed that such allegations had to be dealt with sternly.