A reference to the Judiciary’s functioning in the matter relating to the conduct of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) made by popular Tamil actor Mr. Suriya Sivakumar has prompted the Madras High Court judge to urge the Chief Justice to initiate a contempt proceeding against him.
Suriya Sivakumar has made a public statement wherein he is reported to have said-
“While afraid of risking their lives due to the corona fear, the court dispenses justice through video-conferencing is ordering the students to go and write the NEET examination without fear”.
Suriya is known for his strong views on several social and political issues and has made a statement using Twitter, a social media platform and commented on the need to abolish NEET following a spate of suicides by the medical aspirants in the State under the extreme anxiety and pressure of the said examination.
In response to these statements, Justice Subramanian’s view was that ‘the public statement made by actor Suriya amounts to criminal contempt as the integrity and devotion of judges has been undermined and criticized in bad shape’.
However, six former judges have expressed a different opinion over the issue and stated that “We are afraid that such a construction made on the statement of Suriya will be slightly off the mark but it does not require any action as required by the learned judge”. To sum up, these six judges are of the opinion that if the letter is read in totality and if we consider the good social work done by Suriya in his Trust which helps hundreds of poor children to complete their higher studies and get placed, we should be liberal in showing some generosity and magnanimity in leaving the matter without any cognizance.
On the other hand, TNAA, the Tamil Nadu Advocate’s Association is in support of Justice Subramanian while asserting that the comment of Actor Suriya is highly condemnable which downgrades the judicial function and defames the Hon’ble Justices, which should not be accepted and he should face criminal contempt proceedings after following the due procedure of law. TNAA asserts that his statement does not fall under the ambit of freedom of speech and expression as it has crossed all the limits in nailing against judges.
This news has been written and submitted by Ms. Arushi Lamba during her course of internship at B&B Associates LLP. Ms. Arushi is a 4th-year law student of Panjab University, Chandigarh.