Attorney General recuses self from dealing with plea

New Delhi: Attorney General K K Venugopal on Tuesday recused himself from dealing with a plea for initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against former Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju for his remarks against the top court while deposing before a court in United Kingdom in Nirav Modi extradition case.

Venugopal, in his reply to the petitioner advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, said, I have to point out that I have known Justice Katju for the last about 16 years and we have been interacting with each other ever since. In this background it is not appropriate that I deal with the matter."

He pointed out that section 15 (3) empowers either the Attorney General or the Solicitor General of India to grant consent for initiating criminal contempt proceedings if deemed fit. If so advised, you may file your application for consent before the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, Venugopal told Srivastava in his one page letter.

Srivastava wrote to Venugopal on March 1 and sought his consent for initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against Justice (retd) Katju.

Srivastava cited the UK court's verdict of February 25 while rejecting the plea of fugitive economic offender Nirav Modi against his extradition to India. He said the UK court has recorded the alleged contemptuous remarks made by Justice (retd) Katju by way of evidence in favour of Nirav Modi.

It is quite axiomatic from a bare perusal of the paragraphs of the said judgement that Justice (retd) Markandey Katju has deliberately and wilfully scandalised the Supreme Court and has lowered its authority, not only before a court of United Kingdom but also before the public at large, by way of giving elaborate media briefing in this regard, Srivastava said in his plea to the Attorney General.

He said the statements of Justice (retd) Katju have brought the administration of justice in disrepute in India and abroad and are capable of undermining the dignity and authority of the institution of Supreme Court in general and the office of the Chief Justice of India in particular, in the eyes of public at large.

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