AG Venugopal refuses contempt proceedings against Tripura CM for comments against courts

Attorney General (AG) K.K. Venugopal has refused to give his consent to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb for comments allegedly made against the courts.

Supreme Court lawyer Abu Sohel requested the Attorney General for India to grant consent under Section 15(1)(b) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 to initiate proceedings against the Chief Minister.

The Attorney General termed the alleged statements as deplorable and wholly uncalled for, however, he pointed out that even the High Court had declined to take action against Deb after accepting the submission that the Chief Minister’s comments were misquoted and that he has the highest regard for the judiciary.

“The reporting of my speech on September 25 is being twisted and wrongly reported to some print and electronic media to project disregard to the judiciary and judicial institutions. I firmly and unequivocally clarify that I hold all the judicial institutions in highest esteem and also am duty bound to uphold the Majesty of the judiciary. I have not told the officers or even remotely intended to convey any message to disregard courts or disrespect court orders as reported. My words have been published out of context,” the letter written on October 2 said.

Venugopal stated, “According to the reports, the request for initiating contempt proceedings, made by the members of the Bar, was not acceded to by the (Tripura High) Court. The Bench presided over by the Chief Justice accepted the statement of the Chief Minister made on social media, the screenshot of which was shown to the Court. As a result, the Court refused to list the case for contempt, and the matter was closed.

“I am sure you would appreciate that in view of the fact that the High Court has accepted the statement made by the Chief Minister that he was misquoted and that he has the highest respect for the judiciary, it would not be appropriate for me to grant consent for initiating contempt proceedings. I, therefore, decline consent for the reasons stated,” the letter read. Some media houses had earlier reported that the Chief Minister allegedly asked officials not to fear contempt.
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