Surya’s comments unnecessary, unwarranted but not worthy of contempt, Madras HC

The Madras High Court Friday declined to initiate contempt proceedings against actor Surya for criticizing the courts for forcing students to appear for NEET amid the pandemic.

A division bench of Chief Justice A P Shahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, however, chided Surya for his comments and said-

“The utterances by the cine actor may have been absolutely unnecessary or even unwarranted, for being ignorant of the manner in which the entire judiciary of this State has served the interest of its citizens during this pandemic, and any such statement could have been made in a much more sober way, instead of an accusing tone, which though trivial in nature has raised a storm in a tea cup”.

The Court added that in its judicious discretion, the case did not deserve to be pursued further.

“It is not the job of a constitutional Court to use a sledgehammer for avoidance of something which can be perceived to be not capable of even being propped up as a contempt, much less debated to the level of a criminal contempt”, the Court said.

The Court was considering a letter written by its own judge Justice S M Subramaniam to the Chief Justice seeking contempt proceedings against Surya for his comments on social media against the Court forcing students to appear for NEET.

“Courts were delivering justice through video-conferencing due to life-threatening coronavirus fears (but) are ordering students to fearlessly go and write the exams”, Surya had said,

Six former judges of the Madras HC led by Justice K Chandru had written to the CJ of the Madras HC to not take cognizance of a letter written by Justice SM Subramaniam urging him to initiate contempt proceedings against the actor for his comments.

Read the Order