SC accepts apology from Katju, closes contempt case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday brought curtains down on the contempt proceedings against its former judge, Justice Markandey Katju, as it accepted an unconditional apology tendered by him.

Closing the case, the bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit in their order said: "In view of the apology tendered, we accept and close the proceeding."

"I offer my unconditional apology for publishing the above captioned writings and have deleted the same from my blog entries on Facebook," Justice Katju said in his apology that was read out in the court by senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan appearing for him.

"I express my respect for the judicial process and for the judiciary as an institution of governance," he said.

Urging the court to take his unconditional apology on record, Justice Katju told the court: "I am prepared to read it in open court if I am called upon to do so."

A bench of Justice Gogoi, Justice Prafulla C. Pant and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit had on November 11 issued the notice to Justice Katju as to why contempt proceedings cannot be initiated against him for casting aspersion against the judges in a blog.

Justice Katju had earned the ire of the top court for criticising Justice Gogoi in Soumya case.

He had said that top court had "grievously erred" in setting aside the death sentence of Govindaswamy merely on the grounds that prosecution could not establish whether the victim had jumped from the train or was pushed out of it by the assailant.

The top court, while setting aside the death sentence, had also noted the doctors' opinion which said that injuries caused by the assailant alone could not have been the cause of the death.

Taking a contrary view, Justice Katju in his Facebook post had said: "What the Court has overlooked is that Section 300 IPC, which defines murder, has 4 parts, and only the first part requires intention to kill."

He had said, "If any of the other 3 parts are established, it will be murder even if there was no intention to kill. It is regrettable that the Court has not read Section 300 carefully."

Justice Katju was called to the court to participate in the proceedings and point out the whether the judgment and order of September 15, 2016, suffered from any fundamental flaw warranting its review.

The court by its October 17, 2016, order asking him to appear before it, had said that the views expressed by Justice Katju, "needs to be treated with greatest of respect and consideration" and "participate in the proceedings as to whether the judgment and order dated 15th September, 2016, passed by this Bench a suffers from any fundamental flaw so as to require exercise of the review jurisdiction".