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SC grants bail to Kerala CPM leader in contempt case
November, 16th 2011

The Supreme Court on Tuesday soothed the frayed tempers between Kerala High Court and CPM by granting bail to party leader M V Jayarajan, who was sentenced to six months imprisonment by the HC for contempt of court.

Asking Jayarajan's counsel P V Dinesh to ensure that there were no more protests by CPM outside the HC hindering movement of litigants, a bench of Justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale ordered Jayarajan's release on bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,000 before the HC registrar general. However, it asked him to deposit within a week the fine amount of Rs 2,000 imposed on him by the HC on November 8.

Before settling the dispute and posting final hearing of the matter in July next year, the bench expressed distress over the intemperate language used by both sides - the contemnor who invited judicial wrath and the judges in the order sentencing him. Jayarajan was lodged in Thiruvananthapuram jail.

Appearing for Jayarajan, senior advocate Anil Divan said the contemnor could face the consequences if he had lowered the dignity of the court by using intemperate language, but it was least expected from the judges to call him a "worm" and "serpent" in their order sentencing him. "Their vindictiveness is exhibited by their refusal to suspend the sentence to allow Jayarajan to appeal in the Supreme Court," he said.

The Bench said, "What is alleged against the petitioner, if found true, is surely serious. We will deal with it. But what hurts is the language used by the high court, it should have been temperate."

Appearing for the HC, senior advocate V Giri said protests were being organized daily outside the HC by the political party and activists raised derogatory slogans.

The bench said, "These things must stop. Hindrance to enter the courts is not acceptable. This is an extraordinary situation and regrettable to say the least. Justice cannot be taken to the streets. It is not good for the country."

However, it took exception to the HC's decision to refuse to suspend the sentence to allow Jayarajan to move the apex court. "There is a judicial process and one cannot deny a person who has a right to approach higher court against a verdict. The sentence should have been suspended," it added.

A Kerala HC bench of Justices V Ramkumar and P Q Barkath Ali had on November 8 sentenced Jayarajan to six months imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 on finding him guilty of contempt of court, proceedings for which were initiated suo motu taking cognizance of the politician's speech at a public meeting in Kannur on June 26 last year to protest the HC's decision banning roadside public meetings.

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