Eight police personnel including Tiruppur SP R Ponni, against whom suo-motu contempt proceedings have been initiated for arresting S Thangaraj, formerly Judicial Magistrate in Coonoor, appeared before the first bench of Acting Chief Justice RK Agrawal and Justice M Sathiyanarayanan, on Monday.
When the matter came up before the Bench, R Muthukumarasamy, senior counsel for the officers, sought time to file counter affidavit and prayed for the dispensation of their presence in the future. Accordingly, the bench granted two weeks time for filing counter and dispensed with their personal appearance in the court.
While initiating suo-motu contempt proceedings on July 2, the Bench had directed Ponni, Palladam DSP Suresh Kumar, Udumalpet DSP C Pitchai, Komarapalayam inspector K Shanthamoorthy and Palladam All Women Police Station SI Krishnakumar to appear before it on Monday.
The bench noted on the earlier occasion that Thangaraj was picked up by the personnel early on June 29 and was lodged in the Avinashi Highways Tourist Bungalow till 12.20 pm. However, the FIR had been registered at 4 am on the same day at the AWPS in Palladam. Inspector Manoharan sent a fax message to the distric judge-cum-Judicial Magistrate saying that a case had been registered against Thangaraj at 9.05 a m and the same was being investigated. About 10.30 am, another fax message was received by the DJ-JM stating that Thangaraj was going to be arrested. The DM-JM was informed at 12.30 pm that Thangaraj was arrested at 8.45 am in Keelavalavu in Namakkal district.
From the sequence of events, it was apparent that the officers had deliberately violated the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court. The guidelines stated that if a judicial officer was to be arrested for some offence, it should be done under intimation to the District Judge for the High Court as the case might be.