Paloli Mohammed aimed to ‘shake the basic structure of Judicial system’

published on April 2, 2007


Declining to drop the contempt proceedings against Local Administration Minister Paloli Mohammadkutty, the Kerala High Court today lashed out at him for his reported remarks against the judiciary, stating that he had inflicted ‘a deep wound’ to the judicial system.

A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice MN Krishnan observed that the speech made by Paloli at a function in Kozhikode in January this year had “shaken the confidence of the people in the system of dispute resolution and rendering justice”. The court said he had brought the administration of justice into ‘disrespect’ and ‘disrepute’. The court decided to further hear the case on April 11 and also observed that his comments were ‘outrageous’. The court also held that Paloli could mitigate the damages done if he tendered an unconditional apology in public.

However, the bench held that it did not propose to give any direction to Paloli to apologise or express any regret to the general public because an act of apology should be an act of real repentance. The bench also mentioned that if such a course was adopted, it would mitigate the dangers caused to the system to a certain extent and this may be considered by the court when it finally decides on whether to accept the plea or not.

The words spoken by the Minister are ‘abusive’ and ‘grave’ and have a ‘tendency to shake the basic structure of judicial system’, which was likely to undermine the deep rooted faith and respect to the courts and the general public thereby diminishing the confidence of people in the judicial system the division bench observed.

The court in its verdict also observed that Paloli was not a layman, but a person holding the office of a Minister, who has taken an oath of office to uphold the constitution and the laws of the land. The words spoken by him would have a great impact on the minds of the people.

The bench held that the ‘judges were confident about the stability and strength of the system which would not wither in the heat of controversy. They are seasoned to contain personal abuses hurled at them and have the strength to ignore isolated abusive comments’. The court which had launched suo motu contempt proceedings against Paloli, had asked him to appear in court on February 15. However, the Minister filed a petition seeking exemption from personal appearance and he was allowed to appear on February 26. The Minister appeared in the court on February 26 and tendered an unconditional apology and expressed ‘sincere’ and ‘deep regret’ for his speech on January 30 this year at Kozhikode . The bench had issued contempt notices against Paloli and editors and publishers of four Malayalam newspapers asking them to appear in court.

The Minister is said to have made a public statement imputing motives against the judiciary in discharging its functions, which were carried by the newspapers.

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