The Attorney General for India KK Venugopal on Tuesday declined to grant consent to initiate criminal contempt of proceedings against Congress MP Rahul Gandhi for his statements against judiciary.
The AG observed that Gandhi’s statements made a general reference to “judiciary” and contained no specific reference to the Supreme Court. He pointed out that under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, the Attorney General has jurisdiction to grant consent for initiation of proceedings for contempt only in respect of contempt of the Supreme Court.
“Thus the question of my granting consent would not arise”, the AG said.
“In any event”, the top law officer of the Union further said, “the statements in question are too vague to be said to have lowered the authority of the institution in the eyes of the public”.
The AG was responding to a petition filed by one Advocate Vineet Jindal who alleged that Rahul Gandhi scandalized the judiciary by commenting that “the ruling party in the Centre has inserted its people into judiciary”.
According to Jindal, Gandhi had made the following comments in an interview :
“This country has a legal system where one had 100 per cent independence in voicing his/her opinion. It is very clear that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is inserting its Institutional framework of this country”
By alleging that these comments disgraced and scandalized the Supreme Court, Jindal sought criminal contempt action against Gandhi under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.