Six former Madras HC judges defend actor Suriya, urge Chief Justice to drop contempt proceedings
The actor in a statement on his Twitter page had remarked that the courts were rendering justice by holding virtual proceedings. However, they want students to take the NEET exam without any fear.
CHENNAI: Six former Madras High Court judges have come out in defence of actor Suriya on Monday after justice SM Subramanian wrote a letter to Chief Justice AP Sahi to initiate criminal contempt proceedings.
The actor in a statement on his Twitter page on Sunday had remarked that the courts in the country were rendering justice by holding virtual proceedings. However, they want students to take the NEET exam without any fear.
Retired Madras High Court judges Justice K Chandru, K N Basha, T Sudanthiram, D Hariparanthaman, K Kannan and G M Akbar Ali have addressed a letter to the Chief Justice A P Sahi to put the issue to rest by not initiating any criminal contempt proceedings against the actor.
In the letter, the judges said, "If the letter is read in its totality and considering the good work done by him through his charitable trust which had helped hundreds of poor students to complete their higher education and get placements, we should show generosity and magnanimity in leaving the matter without any cognizance."
“It appears that the actor had stated that while afraid of risking their lives due to COVID-19, the court which dispenses justice through videoconferencing is ordering students to go and write NEET without fear,” the former judges said.
“We are afraid that considering such a statement as contempt of court would be slightly off the mark and it did not require any action as requested by the judge. Where four students have committed suicide unable to meet the NEET requirement and in a surcharged atmosphere, an artistic person’s overreaction should not be taken seriously and out of context.”
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Advocates Association led by president and senior advocate S Prabhakaran issued a statement condemning Suriya.
The association said that the actor's statement was interfering with the process and functioning of judicial discretion and amounted to criminal contempt since the NEET issue was being dealt with by the Supreme Court.
Opposing the contempt of court proceedings, 25 lawyers of the Madras High Court led by NGR Prasad and Sudha Ramalingam in a detailed letter stated that initiation of such proceedings against the actor would amount to stifling freedom of speech and expression.