Jade Goody's alleged racist remarks against Shilpa Shetty in the British TV reality show Big Brother have found an echo in the Supreme Court too.
A Bench of Justice SB Sinha and Justice Markandey Katju disapproved of Goody's conduct that attracted worldwide condemnation and ultimately led to the Bollywood actress' victory in the popular TV show.
"Don't behave like Jade Goody," the Bench told a Madhya Pradesh lawyer sentenced to seven-day jail term for slapping another counsel during proceedings in a subordinate court.
The observation came after the counsel for petitioner advocate CL Tiwari submitted that he had already apologised to the aggrieved advocate with deep remorse and that his sentence should be set aside.
"You are behaving like Jade Goody…She has also tendered an apology…It is not enough. Apology will not wash away the crime," the Bench observed on January 25 dismissing Tiwari's appeal against the order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court that had awarded him seven-day imprisonment for contempt of court.
Tiwari, a three-time president of the local Bar, had slapped the counsel in an open court after the opposite side allegedly called him a bhikhari (beggar). The High Court held that his behaviour amounted to contempt of court and accordingly sentenced him to seven-day imprisonment.
He challenged the High Court order in the apex court on the ground that he had already apologised to the other counsel and further proceedings were pending before the State Bar Council.
However, taking a strong view of the matter, the Bench observed that apology alone would not be sufficient in such cases.
"Is it the behaviour of a gentleman? The High Court has said that the apology is merely a lip service…If you behave like a hooligan, no court can tolerate behaviour like this," the court observed and threatened to enhance the sentence. "We intend to send a message…Let the message go," it said.
The Bench told Tiwari that he was lucky that he got just seven-day imprisonment. "In Kerala there is a rule that if you commit contempt of court, you shall not be able to practise and we have upheld the validity of that provision," it observed dismissing the appeal.
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