Five jailed for hurling slipper at Supreme Court judge (Lead)March 20th, 2009 - 9:51 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) Members of a Mumbai-based school were pleading their case before the Supreme Court Friday when suddenly one of them flung a slipper at the justices, causing consternation in the apex court. The court sentenced five people, including four women, to three months in prison for the offence.
The incident occurred when Justices Arijit Pasayat and Asok Kumar Ganguly were hearing the plea of members of the Boss Music School against a Bombay High Court order asking that their mental condition be examined.
Seven members of the school were standing before the judges and pleading their cases when one of them flung a slipper at Justice Pasayat, but missed him.
School principal Leila David, 75, audio engineer Annette Kotian, 23, music teacher Pavitra Murali, psychologist Savita Parekh and chartered accountant Kishor Parekh were jailed for the attack.
In its brief order, the bench said, “When the matter was taken up, the petitioners started shouting and singing in offensive and abusive language.”
“They demanded that the judges should be jailed for initiating contempt to court proceedings against them and that we should be punished for not protecting their so-called fundamental rights,” the bench said.
“They suddenly threw a ‘chappal’ (slipper) at the judge. This happened in the presence of Solicitor General G.E. Vahanvati, Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran and senior advocate Sushil Kumar Jain,” said the bench, while ordering that the five be taken into custody.
The slipper attack sparked a furore in the court complex.
A group of lawyers, led by advocate Shiv Sagar Tiwari, threatened two of the Boss School members, who were not taken in custody, with dire consequences for “bringing down the reputation of the institution of the judiciary”.
The Supreme Court Bar Association criticised the incident. Bar association president Pravin H. Parekh said that “it is not a civilized way to show one’s displeasure or frustration against the judges, who administer justice as per the best of their abilities.”
“If every one starts behaving in such an undignified manner, it will be impossible for any institution to function,” he added.
The unsavoury incident occurred a day after an apex court official, responsible for examining the contents of lawsuits before accepting them for hearing, refused the Boss School members permission to file a lawsuit.
The lawsuit filed by David and Kotian wanted Justice Pasayat to abandon hearing their earlier pleas against the Bombay High Court order that their mental state be examined.
The Boss School members, with a chequered history of tiffs with judges of the Bombay High Court and the apex court during hearing of their cases, also wanted launch of criminal proceedings against seven judges of the apex court, including Chief justice of India Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, besides 14 judges of the Bombay High Court.
Displaying lack of faith in the judiciary, they wanted their pleas to be heard by a bench comprising all the judges of the apex court.
Registrar T. Shivadasan Thursday refused them permission to file their lawsuit, saying that “the petition contains frivolous, derogatory, scandalous and baseless allegations against the judges without disclosing any reasonable cause and evidence for filing the same.”
However, the Boss School associates appeared before the bench Friday as their original lawsuit against the Bombay High Court order was listed for hearing.
The bench had suspended the Bombay High Court order that sought examination of their mental state.
Explaining the reason behind the attack, Nancy D’souza, a member of the school, told IANS that they were upset as the judge had not stayed a similar order of the high court.
She told IANS that the school’s problem started when the parents of some children, who were learning music at the school, accused the school staff of hypnotizing the kids and practising black magic and witchcraft on them.
She said the parents approached the Bombay High Court with their allegations, prompting the court to order a probe by the police.
Though the police gave them a clean chit, the Bombay High Court ordered examination of their mental state, said D’souza.