Bengaluru: The state high court bore witness to a rare instance of a mayor from another state being hauled for contempt on Tuesday.
A few months ago, when special judge Justice J M Cunha had passed a judgement against Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa in a case of amassing disproportionate assets, there were angry responses, in her state in particular. Crowds burnt the judge’s effigies in different places.
Aspersions were cast on the perceived ‘motives’. The Vellore city municipal corporation, with P Karthiyayini as the mayor – who incidentally is the very first woman to hold the post – went a step ahead and passed a resolution condemning the judge.
RTI activist from Karnataka, Jayakumar Hiremath, filed a criminal case against her, invoking the laws of contempt of the judiciary. When the case came up for hearing, the accused appeared in person before the division bench of the HC comprising Justices H Billappa and K N Phaneendra and tendered her unconditional apology.
The advocate for Karthiyayini submitted that she had not intentionally passed the resolution against Judge Cunha. It was not her intention to bring down the dignity of the court. When the council passed the resolution, the prevailing situation had gone out of her control.
Having regretted the development, in accordance with the court order, she had already tendered her apology through the newspapers.
Besides, she had also written to the judge himself personally apologizing for the indiscretion. Hence the advocate for her made a plea that the case be dropped at this stage.
Raising an objection to this, the plaintiff’s advocate said that it was not correct to drop the proceedings just because an apology had been tendered.
Since the dignity of the court had been affected and in view of the supreme court’s ruling in several cases that severe action had to be taken in such instances, the proceedings be continued. The advocate also sought time to file counter-objections.
The bench ruled that the plaintiff’s objections would be heard first and only then a final ruling would be given. The hearing was adjourned to Nov 2.