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The Hindu
The Hindu
Legal Correspondent

HC finds litigant guilty of contempt, sentences him to four weeks of simple imprisonment

The Madras High Court on Monday convicted a litigant, A. Radhakrishnan of Salem, for contempt of court after finding him to be “an interloper who has been using the judicial process for blackmailing and causing annoyance to ordinary people in the guise of being a good samaritan.”

A Division Bench of Justices P.N. Prakash and A.A. Nakkiran sentenced him to four weeks of simple imprisonment. The judges also imposed a fine of ₹2,000 for each of the four charges levelled against him and ordered that, in default, he must undergo two more weeks of simple imprisonment.

The judges said that no sympathy could be shown to such people and directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Salem to issue a warrant requiring the Commissioner of Police to produce Radhakrishnan in the court. On such production, the CJM must commit the contemnor to prison for undergoing the sentence.

Though the Bench had convicted the petitioner on all four charges framed under the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 and sentenced him to undergo four weeks of simple imprisonment for each of those charges, they made it clear that the substantive sentence should run concurrently and not consecutively.

The judges found the petitioner guilty of having filed a false residential address while filing a number of writ petitions in the High Court for retrieving temple properties under alleged encroachments. They also held him guilty of having made a false claim of being the trustee of a few temples in his sworn affidavits.

They refused to accept his submission that he had provided his old residential address because of sentimental value. “We are not able to accept the aforesaid explanation of the respondent. When a person files an affidavit especially in a public interest litigation, he is required to disclose his true details.

“Giving an address in the affidavit knowing full well that it is not the correct one, per se, amounts to criminal contempt, because, the respondent does not want to be reached by the court and wants to remain incognito... His acts of giving false information would definitely interfere with the administration of justice,” the judges wrote.

They also found that the litigant had been adopting yet another modus operandi of threatening government officials by sending representations to the Chief Justice’s office and creating an impression as if the High Court was monitoring his complaint after those representations get forwarded to the Collector concerned in the routine course.

The Division Bench also took note that the litigant had been booked in as many as eight criminal cases of which some had ended in acquittal while others were pending trial. The orders were passed on a criminal contempt of court petition moved against him by one Sivakumar in 2020 after obtaining the Advocate General’s consent in 2019.

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