The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued contempt notice to former Army Chief Gen V K Singh, saying his remarks against its order on his age row prima facie amounts to "scandalising" and undermining the authority of the court.
The apex court directed the former army chief to file his response by October 23 after taking suo moto cognizance of a news report quoting him on why the apex court had not decided his age on the basis of matriculation certificate if such document is relied upon to decide the age of a rape victim.
A bench of justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale also issued notice to publisher of a national daily which had published Singh's statement on September 22.
"This court, therefore, takes cognizance of the criminal contempt and direct that notice be issued to him as to why contempt proceedings be not initiated against him," the bench said.
Referring to Singh's statement in the news report, the bench said, "The same amounts to scandalising the court and prima facie V K Singh's statement tends to scandalise the judiciary and also tends to lower the authority of the court."
The bench also asked Attorney General G E Vahanvati to assist the court in hearing of the case.
The apex court had yesterday taken suo motu cognisance of Singh's remarks against its order on his age row.
The bench had earlier dismissed Singh's plea against the Centre on his age row.
"If the court can define the age of a rape victim on the basis of his matriculation certificate then why has the Supreme Court failed to decide my age despite checking and cross checking my certificate?," Singh was quoted as having stated in the report.
Singh had on February 10 last year lost his legal battle on the age row in the apex court which said the government decision on his date of birth will apply for his service matters, forcing him to withdraw his petition.
The apex court had told Singh that he cannot resile on his commitment that he would abide by the government decision to treat his date of birth as May 10, 1950 and rejected the contention of "prejudice" and "perversity".
The apex court, however, had applauded his 38 years of service to the nation, saying that it was "proud" of having "meritorious" officer like Gen Singh.
The court had said that government decision on his age issue will continue to be there and refused to interfere with his service record which maintains his date of birth as May 10, 1950.