Complaint filed against ‘Thuglaq’ editor S. Gurumurthy in Tirunelveli for allegedly defaming judges

Published : January 17, 2021 15:21 IST

S. Gurumurthy, editor, 'Thuglaq'

The Tirunelveli police have registered a CSR (community service register) complaint against S. Gurumurthy, a chartered accountant and editor of Thuglaq (a Tamil magazine founded by Cho S. Ramaswamy) claiming that he defamed judges in his speech on Pongal day. (A CSR complaint is filed in the case of non-cognisable offences).

Raja Gopal, an advocate in Cheranmahadevi, and three others from the local Bar Association, approached the local police on January 16 with a request to take action against Gurumurthy. The CSR copy (Number 14/2021) states that Gurumurthy tainted the judiciary with his defamatory comments against judges. Hence, on behalf of advocates, the petitioner wanted action taken against Gurumurthy.

On January 14, speaking at a function organised by his publication, Thuglaq, Gurumurthy claimed that judges were seeking the support of politicians to be elevated to the Supreme Court and the High Court. He later claimed that he referred to applicants for jobs for judges. “All the judges in the courts, and the Supreme Court, have been appointed by politicians. Many [such people] fall at the feet of someone powerful through intermediaries to become judges. This is something that we have to be ashamed of today. If judges were appointed on merit there would not be a situation of this nature,” he said at the function. Bharatiya Janata Party’s national president, J.P. Nadda, was present when Gurumurthy made his comments in Tamil. Other senior BJP leaders, including H. Raja, who once made a derogatory comment against courts only to apologise later, was also present.

I. Paranthaman, a Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) spokesperson and advocate, who posted the video of the speech on Twitter on January 16, demanded that the Bar council of India, the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, the Madras High Court Advocates Association, the Bar Associations in Tamil Nadu “react to Gurumurthy’s speech defaming… judges of High Court and Supreme Court.”

On January 16, Gurumurthy, “regretted” his comment and claimed this was made on the “spur of the moment”. In a tweet, he said: “Responding to a reader in open forum at Thuglak magazine annual meeting held on 14.1.21 on delay in punishing the corrupt, talking about politicisation of judiciary, in spur of moment, for 'applicants for judges' I erroneously said 'judges' which I regret.”

Gurumurthy went on to justify his outburst against judges, claiming that the comments constituted an “extempore reply to a provocative question”. The word “apology” does not find a place in Gurumurthy’s statement. Instead, he has sought refuge in words such as “error,” “regret,” and “unintended,” to explain his comments. He ends the note, posted on twitter, with this comment: “My respect for the judiciary and judges is founded on personal experience of the judiciary standing by freedom of expression at all times.”