Delhi HC Issues notice to Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri

Vivek agnihotri

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued fresh notices to filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, scientist Anand Ranganathan, and news outlet Swarajya in a suo motu criminal contempt petition initiated over their comments alleging bias on the part of its former judge, Justice S Muralidhar.

A Division Bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Rajnish Bhatnagar noted that no one had appeared for the trio in the last few hearings. Therefore, it is in the interest of justice that adverse orders are deferred, the Bench stated.

Amicus Curiae and Senior Advocate Arvind Nigam informed the Bench that though no one has appeared for many of the respondents in the last several hearings, there are still people who have not even been served.

The Court, therefore, issued fresh notices to the three respondents and several others through the counsel who had last represented them, as well as through email.

The case has been listed for further hearing on September 19.

The criminal contempt petition was initiated against Agnihotri, Ranganathan, Swarajya, and others after Senior Advocate Rajshekhar Rao wrote a letter to then Chief Justice Rajendra Menon, pointing to an article retweeted by RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy alleging bias on the part of Justice Muralidhar. Gurumurthy had penned the article after the judge passed an order setting aside the transit remand order against activist Gautam Navlakha in October 2018.

The article was published in a blog called Drishtikone by Desh Kapoor. He later tendered an apology to the Court in August 2019 and was consequently dropped as a party.

Gurumurthy was dropped as a respondent in the matter after he offered to retweet the unconditional apology tendered by Kapoor.

The case against Agnihotri, Ranganathan, and several others is still going on.

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