Setu project: SC case adjourned to Jan. 16, 2008

Sethu project: court adjourns hearing on Swamy’s plea

Legal Correspondent

Centre sought time as it was examining the expert committee’s report

Veeramani interfering in the administration of justice in the case: Swamy

CJI denies having seen any letter from the DK chief

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned to January 16, 2008 hearing on a batch of petitions filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy and others challenging the implementation of the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project.

A three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice J.M. Panchal, adjourned the hearing as the Centre sought further time to file its response.

Additional Solicitor-General R. Mohan, appearing for the Sethusamudram Corporation, told the Bench that the government was examining the report of the expert committee and some more time was required to file the response. When counsel for some of the petitioners wanted the court to direct the Centre to give copies of the committee’s report, the CJI told them: “We have not appointed the committee. We only allowed them to set up the committee. They may or may not accept the report. You challenge if any decision is taken.”

Dr. Swamy told the Bench: “I had filed an application urging the court to take suo motu contempt of court proceedings against K. Veeramani, President of the Dravidar Kazhagam for writing a letter to the CJI asking him not to entrust the Sethusamudram case to a Bench headed by Justice B.N. Agrawal [it was this Bench that said that Ramar Sethu should not be destroyed].”

He alleged that the DK President, by writing a letter to the CJI, had interfered with the administration of justice.

The CJI told him: “Every day we receive hundreds of letters. To my knowledge I have not seen any such letter [from Mr. Veeramani]. Even if it is so, I am not bound by that letter. We don’t entertain such requests. We don’t act on such letters. We don’t want to say anything on contempt. We don’t think that such things will affect the administration of justice.”

Dr. Swamy said: “To say something confidential is different but to make it public in newspapers will amount to contempt.” When the CJI said: “I have not received any such letter,” Dr. Swamy said: “The situation is worse if the CJI had not received the letter, which is, however, made public. This will definitely amount to contempt and my application should be heard.” The Bench agreed and said the application, after it was numbered, would be heard along with the main petitions. It posted the matter for further hearing on January 16.

Rama Setu: SC to hear contempt application against Veeramani
11 Dec, 2007, 2152 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear an application seeking initiation of criminal contempt against Dravidar Kazhagam leader K Veeramani for his alleged remarks on Justice B N Agrawal, who heard the cases related to Sethusamudram project.
The application filed by Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy alleged that Veeramani, who was aggrieved by the judge’s orders on Rama Setu and the recent Tamil Nadu Bandh, had shot off a letter to the Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan saying Justice Agrawal should not be allowed to hear the cases relating to the project.
Veeramani allegedly got his letter addressed to the CJI published in the newspapers.
After a brief hearing, the Bench headed by Chief Justice said it will hear the application along with the main matters listed for January.
Before passing its order, the Bench was reluctant to hear the matter saying that judges receive many such letters and it was not necessary to consider all of them.
However, when the Chief Justice said no such letter has come to his notice, Swamy said then it was more contemptuous as Veeramani passed it on to the media.
Playing down the issue, the Bench said “we do not act on such a letter. We are not bound by the letter to consider contempt”.
“We do not think such things affect the administration of justice,” the Bench said when Swamy repeatedly pressed for hearing the application saying publishing the content of letter addressed to the Chief Justice of India when the matter was pending in court was highly objectionable.


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