After tweeting derogatory statements against Justice S Muralidhar who granted relief to activist Gautam Navlakha in the Bhima Koregaon case, the Kashmir Files filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri submitted an affidavit to the Delhi high court stating he had withdrawn his statement against the senior judge and tendered an ‘unconditional’ apology.
Agnihotri further claimed he had deleted the tweet. However, on Tuesday, the Amicus Curiae Senior Advocate Arvind Nigam said that it is unlikely the filmmaker deleted his tweets. Nigam said it is highly possible for the social media platform Twitter to delete it as per their policies against derogatory and harmful comments.
The bench led by Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh ordered Agnihotri to be present in person during the next hearing which falls on March 16, 2023.
“We are asking him (Agnihotri) to remain present because he is the contemnor. Does he have any difficulty if he has to express remorse in person? The remorse cannot always be expressed by way of an affidavit,” the court remarked.
What did Agnihotri tweet?
In 2018, Justice Muralidhar granted Navlakha relief saying that the Supreme Court had given him the liberty to approach the appropriate forum within four weeks to seek relief, which he has done.
The Kashmir Files filmmaker had tweeted, “So was there some special relationship between the Justices and the accused #UrbanNaxal Gautam Navlakha? It turns out there is. Justice Muralidhar’s wife – Usha Ramanathan – is a close friend of Gautam Navlakha.”
Soon after this, contempt of court proceedings was initiated against the filmmaker.
The Supreme Court on November 10 allowed the house arrest of activist Gautam Navlakha who is incarcerated in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case.
The bench also directed Navlakha to deposit Rs 2.4 lakh, an estimated amount which the National Investigation Agency (NIA) claims as an expense for making available police personnel.