MPs are free to criticise, SC tells Katju

MPs are free to criticise, SC tells Katju

MPs are free to criticise, SC tells Katju

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said MPs who passed the resolution condemning Justice (Retd) Markandey Katju for his blog against Mahatma Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose enjoyed the same freedom of speech and expression as claimed by him.

“The MPs have simply put their views in a collective manner in condemning your viewpoint. It is no censure,” a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice T S Thakur told senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for Katju.

Subramanium contended that Parliament has taken recourse to “censurial jurisdiction” without according an opportunity to Justice Katju to put forth his views before condemning his statement made in his blog.

“Leave aside Parliament, I condemn this. Do you have a cause of action against an ordinary citizen who enjoys the fundamental right as you did,” Justice Thakur asked.
Subramanium, on his part, pointed out the two houses of Parliament passed the resolution without hearing Katju.

Senior advocate F S Nariman, who was appointed amicus curiae in the case, agreed to the court’s observations and said Parliament did not exercise the “censurial jurisdiction” and merely voicing the collective view of the house.

Parliament responded by issuing the resolution because the person concerned was a high constitutional functionary and it did not want the public at large to believe him that Gandhi and Bose were British and Japanese agents, Nariman said.

“If you want to exercise your right as a citizen, then be a citizen and don’t be a super citizen,” Nariman said, adding Parliament reacted as the person concerned was a former judge of the apex court.