Kochi: Taking a strong view of offensive remarks made against judges and the judiciary by CPM leader M V Jayarajan, the Kerala High Court today sentenced him to six months imprisonment for contempt of court.
The division bench held that by making the offending speech at Kannur last year, Jayarajan was ridiculing in public performance of two high court judges and making "scurrilous, offensive, vicious and malicious onslaught on the higher judiciary that too beyond controllable limits."
The bench comprising justices V Ram Kumar and P Q Barkat Ali held Jayarajan, a former MLA from Kannur, guilty under Section 12 of the Contempt of Court Act and noted during the trial, he had gone to the press justifying his act, including using the word 'shumban' (a derogatory term which in local parlance means a useless person) against the judges.
Jayarajan's plea to suspend the sentence to enable him to file appeal in the Supreme Court was turned down by the court.
Immediately after the order was passed, police personnel arrived at the court and took him to Thiruvananthapuram Central Jail.
CPI(M) and DYFI activists, present near the court, raised slogans hailing Jayarajan.
Jayarajan has been ordered to pay a fine of Rs. 2000 and in case of default, he will have to undergo an extra month's imprisonment.
CPM has a history of clashing with judiciary in Kerala
Conflicts between Left leaders and judiciary in Kerala are nothing new. Right from the first Communist chief minister E M S Namboodiripad, there have been instances of Left leaders making scathing remarks against judiciary and earning the wrath of judiciary.
On Tuesday Kerala high court sentenced CPI (M) secretariat member M V Jayarajan to six months of rigorous imprisonment for contempt of court, leading to a state-wide debate on the tussle between judiciary and people's representatives in the state. The case was initiated against Jayarajan for calling judges "sumban" in Malayalam which the court found derogatory.
The closest translation of 'sumban' into English is ''fool or idiot."
Earlier in 2007, the then CPI(M) minister Paloli Muhammed Kutty was also found guilty of contempt of court by the Kerala high court. Kutty was held guilty for saying "a time has come when courts deliver judgments according to the thickness of currency bundles."
Former chief minister Namboodiripad was pulled up by the court in 1970 for stating at a press conference held on November 9, 1967 that "Judges are guided and dominated by class hatred, class interests and class prejudices and where the evidence is balanced between a well-dressed pot-bellied rich man and a poor ill-dressed and illiterate person, the judge instinctively favours the former."
Though the Kerala high court held Namboodiripad guilty for making the remarks and imposed a fine of Rs 1000 or simple imprisonment for one month, the supreme court upheld the appeal filed by Namboodiripad against the high court verdict and reduced the sentence to Rs 50 fine.
Paloli Muhammed Kutty also escaped imprisonment after he approached the supreme court against the high court verdict, which had refused to accept his unconditional apology. The apex court allowed him to be exempted from the jail term after accepting his unconditional apology.
The Kerala high court on Tuesday sentenced CPI (M) state secretariat member M V Jayarajan to six months of rigorous imprisonment for contempt of court.