Suriya’s Comments on Judiciary Unwarranted But No Need for Contempt, Says Court



After Suriya’s statement over NEET included a remark about the functioning of the judiciary during the pandemic, a judge had written to the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court seeking initiation of contempt proceedings.


Poornima Murali

The Madras High Court has decided not to act against Kollywood actor Suriya for his allegedly contemptuous comment about the judiciary in connection with the NEET issue. The actor had wondered in a recent statement how judges doing their duty on video conferencing can expect students to step out and face the NEET exams.

While declining to hold the actor in contempt, the First Bench headed by Chief Justice AP Sahi, however, had some comments about the actor’s tone in conveying his stance on the medical entrance test. “...We find the utterances by the cine 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 the citizens during the 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 teacup,” the court stated.

The court gave a 29-page order drawing the curtains on the proceedings, and added that the Principal Seat of the Madras High Court had disposed of 25181 cases through the pandemic, pointing out that the court was not “sitting idle.” The court said the matter would not be pursued further.

Last week, an evocative and sharply worded statement by actor Suriya hitting out against the conduct of the NEET medical entrance test had drawn ire. Madras High Court judge SM Subramaniam wrote to the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court seeking contempt proceedings for Suriya's objectionable references to the functioning of the judiciary in the letter.

In the statement that Suriya had released on September 13, the actor had strongly criticised the necessitation of the NEET exam in the adverse conditions imposed by the lockdown and the general digital divide between students with better coaching and internet connectivity and those who are trying to make do with little or no facilities. To drive home the point that the exam shouldn't have been conducted, Suriya wondered how students can be expected to bravely step out and write an exam when judges conduct their duty via video conferencing from their homes.

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