Contempt case against Iskcon secy, 2 others

Contempt case against Iskcon secy, 2 others

The High Court on Wednesday framed charges against Jai Chaitanya Das, secretary, The International Society for Krishna Conscious (Iskcon) and two advocates Ramesh Babu and S A Maruthi Prasad for criminal contempt of court in connection with a 2009 case. 

The division bench comprising Justices N Kumar and Indrakala posted the matter for trial which will begin from August 13.

When the bench read out the charges against the accused, the trio pleaded not guilty and the court continued with framing of the charges. Accordingly, the prosecution would examine the Registrar General and two advocates Shekhar Shetty and S V Srinivasan. 

In 2009, during the hearing of a Regular First Appeal (RFA) between Iskcon, Bangalore and Iskcon Mumbai in the ownership controversy, Jai Chaitanya Das charged Justice K L Manjunath of being biased.

 On July 7, 2010 and July 10, 2009, Justice Manjunath’s office received a courier containing photographs of him receiving a portrait of Lord Krishna at Iskcon premises in the City. A question was raised as to how the judge can hear the matter when he was close to the Iskcon movement. During the hearing, the bench sought clarification from both the parties on how these photos were sent in the name of the parties in the case. 

Meanwhile, two advocates who were associated with Justice Manjunath during his practising years posted letters to their one-time associate, noting that the counsels appearing for Iskcon were indulging in bench hunting.

Accordingly, counsel Shekhar Shetty, senior to Justice Manjunath, and S V Srinivasan were approached by advocates Ramesh Babu and S A Maruthi Prasad to appear for one of the parties. 

The court, during the hearing, observed that Bangalore Iskcon had made several attempts to change the bench that was hearing the RFA. 

The matter was placed before the Chief Justice on 7 August, 2009 for further proceedings in the matter wherein the then Chief Justice, on August 13, 2009, directed its registry to initiate suo motu criminal contempt proceedings against secretary of Bangalore Iskcon and the advocates for their alleged involvement in scandalising the judiciary and a High Court judge.

The division bench headed by  Justice N Kumar framed the charges against the three respondents. 

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