From the affidavit

Print edition : September 15, 2001

In the Pattanaik-Ruma Pal judgment, the Supreme Court has taken issue with the following three paragraphs in Arundhati Roy's affidavit:

"On the grounds that judges of the Supreme Court were too busy, the Chief Justice of India refused to allow a sitting judge to head the judicial enquiry into the Tehelka scandal, even though it involves matters of national security and corruption in the highest places.

"Yet, when it comes to an absurd, despicable, entirely unsubstantiated petition in which all the three respondents happen to be people, who have publicly - though in markedly different ways - questioned the polices of the government and severely criticized a recent judgement of the Supreme Court, the Court Displays a disturbing willingness to issue notice.

"It indicates a disquieting inclination on the part of the Court to silence criticism and muzzle dissent, to harass and intimidate those who disagree with it. By entertaining a petition based on an FIR that even a local police station does not see fit to act upon, the Supreme Court is doing its own reputation and credibility considerable harm."

The writer in these paragraphs, the apex Court claims, "appears to us, prima facie, to have committed contempt." The affidavit was a response to the Court's notice based on a contempt application that was held, in a strange judgment, to be procedurally flawed and invalid and substantively baseless.

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