Attorney General K K Venugopal has declined his consent for initiating criminal contempt of court proceedings against Bollywood actor Swara Bhasker for her alleged 'derogatory and scandalous' statements against the Supreme Court over the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid case verdict.
The consent of either the attorney general or the solicitor general is necessary, under section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, for initiating contempt proceedings against a person.
Lawyer Anuj Saxena had sought the attorney general's consent for initiating contempt action against Bhasker.
Venugopal, in a two-page letter to Saxena on August 21, said the actor's 'statement in the first part appears to be a factual one, and is a perception of the speaker'.
'The comment refers to the judgment of the Supreme Court, and is not an attack on the institution,' the attorney general stated.
'This does not offer any comment on the Supreme Court itself or say anything that would scandalise or tend to scandalise, or lower or tend to lower the authority of the Supreme Court,' Venugopal explained.
'In my opinion, the statement does not constitute criminal contempt.'
The attorney general said the second part of the statement is a vague statement not related to any particular court, and 'something is so general that no one would take any serious note of this statement'.
'I do not think that this is a case where the offence of scandalising the court or lowering the authority of the court would arise,' Venugopal said. 'I therefore decline consent to initiate contempt proceedings...'
On August 18, the plea filed before the attorney general by advocate Mahek Maheshwari, who along with lawyers Anuj Saxena and Prakash Sharma, has alleged that Bhasker made these statements at a panel discussion on February 1, 2020 organised by the Mumbai Collective.
The plea claimed that Bhasker had made 'derogatory and scandalous' statements against the courts in the country and mentioned the Ayodhya case judgment.