NEW DELHI: Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan Friday filed a contempt plea against a former government official for allegedly threatening him for appearing for Muslim parties in the Ramjanam Bhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case in the Supreme Court.
Dhavan, who appeared for lead petitioner M Siddiq and the All India Sunni Waqf Board, said he has received a letter dated August 14, 2019 from N Shanmugam, a retired Education Officer, threatening him for appearing for the Muslim parties.
"This letter was sent as C/o. Supreme Court Bar Association and the Staff of Supreme Court Bar Association handed over the said letter to the Petitioner on August 22, 2019 near Bar Library-1.
"The petitioner through his Advocate-on-Record Ejaz Maqbool submitted a letter dated August 23, 2019 along with the letter received from Prof N Shanmugam for initiating suo motu contempt petition against the said Respondent," the plea said.
Dhavan has said in the plea that he has also received a WhatsApp message from a Rajasthan resident Sanjay Kalal Bajrangi which is also an attempt to interfere with the administration of justice before the apex court.
He annexed the translated copy of the message along with his petition.
He alleged that he has been accosted both at home and in the court premises with intimidating behaviour by several persons.
Dhavan said that as per Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, he has to seek prior permission of the Attorney General for initiating the present contempt petition.
He, however, said he was not doing so because Attorney General K K Venugopal in the earlier round had appeared for the State of Uttar Pradesh in these matters.
"Also, the petitioner is not approaching the Solicitor General for India because he is appearing in the said matters for the State of Uttar Pradesh and the petitioner while arguing the present case before a bench of three Judges had contended that the Solicitor General cannot take sides and also gave written submissions in this regard.
"In view of the facts, circumstances and nature of the case it would not be desirable for the petitioner to approach Attorney or Solicitor General seeking permission as prescribed by Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act and an application for exemption is being filed along with this contempt petition," the plea said.
The plea said that by sending the letter the alleged contemnor has committed criminal contempt because "he is intimidating a senior advocate who is appearing for a party/parties before the apex court and discharging his duties as a senior advocate and he ought not to have sent such a letter."
"Exercise suo motu powers under Article 129 of the Constitution of India and Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act taking cognisance of the criminal contempt on the basis of the facts placed on record against the contemnor/opposite party for committing criminal contempt," the plea said.