Former Supreme Court judge Justice Markandeya Katju suffered a setback on Thursday after the top court refused to quash the March 2015 resolution passed by the two houses of Parliament against him for calling Mahatma Gandhi a British agent and Subhash Chandra Bose a Japanese agent in his blog.
A bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur dismissed Justice Katju’s petition challenging the resolution on the ground there was violation of principles of natural justice because he was not heard before it was passed.
The court, however, agreed with Justice Katju on his submission that the petition filed him was maintainable. This means judiciary can review a resolution passed by the Parliament if someone is aggrieved and challenges it.
“We reject the preliminary objection regarding the maintainability of the petition. Petition is maintainable. But we dismiss the petition on merits”, said the bench, rejecting Centre’s challenge to the Justice Katju’s petition on technical ground. The government had said parliamentary proceedings can never be subject to judicial scrutiny.
The order comes close to the heels of another SC direction initiating contempt proceedings against Justice KAtju for criticizing top court’s order acquitting a man of murder in a rape-cum-murder case from Kerala.
The former chairman of the Press Council of India has, however filed an application tendering an ‘unconditional apology’ which the court said would be considered.
“We are not for a moment suggesting that he could not or ought not to have made those statements. He is entitled to his views and put those views in public domain for consumption of public in general. The response by both Houses of Parliament was also natural in that the Resolutions in question dealt with his statements in public domain. All that the resolutions did was to condemn his remarks and did not refer to the conduct or character of the petitioner,” the SC said.