New Delhi: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue, co-convenor of Swadeshi Jagran Manch and part-time Reserve Bank of India board member, S Gurumurthy, on Friday night “unconditionally withdrew” his earlier tweet in October 2018, in which he had shared an offending article by Desh Kapoor on Justice S Muralidhar, alleging that the judge was biased.
This came after a Delhi High Court order, which discharged Gurumurthy as a party to a contempt case initiated by it, allowing him to put out a statement clarifying the unconditional withdrawal of his tweet within 72 hours, according to a report in Bar & Bench.
The assurance of the withdrawal of the tweets was given by Gurumurthy’s lawyer, Mahesh Jethmalani.
As per the court order:
Mr.Jethmalani states that the following text shall be uploaded as a tweet within 72 hours:- “In compliance with order dated 14.10.2019 passed by the Hon’ble High Court which is attached (link), I have already clarified that the article tweeted by me on 01.10.2018 stands withdrawn by its original author who has tendered an unconditional apology for the same. Consequently, I have already unconditionally withdrawn my tweet dated 01.10.2018.”
After this, the court held that “the present application is disposed of with a direction to Mr. S. Gurumurthy to tweet the aforesaid text within 72 hours.”
The RSS ideologue’s statement further informed the court that the offending article stood withdrawn by its author, Desh Kapoor, who had also tendered an unconditional apology for the same, said a Bar & Bench report.
The offending article in question was titled ‘Why has Delhi High Court Justice Muralidhar’s relationship with Gautam Navlakha not been disclosed?’, which was published in a blog named Drishtikone, after Justice Muralidhar passed an order setting aside the transit remand order against activist Gautam Navlakha in October last year.
According to Bar & Bench, during the proceedings, Gurumurthy had argued that he could not be held guilty under the Contempt of Court Act as he had merely retweeted the offending article without any endorsement or comments.
Later, Gurumurthy had filed an application before the Court, seeking exemption from the condition of retweeting the hyperlink of the author's apology on the ground that it was not available on any of the social media platforms or the internet, said the report.
“In view of the "new ground-level reality", a Division Bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, waived off the condition requiring Gurumurthy to hyperlink the author's apology and instead, allowed him to tweet the statement presented byJethmalani. On Friday night, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, therefore, tweeted his unconditional apology.
The court has listed the matter for further hearing on March, 30, 2020.
In his earlier tweets, Gurumurthy had attacked Muralidhar, a sitting high court judge, for his decision in October last to release activist Navlakha from house arrest in the Bhima Koregaon case, alleging that the judge had done so because the activist and the judge’s wife were friends.
The Delhi HC took up the issue after contempt of court action was sought by advocate Rajshekar Rao, who pleaded that tweets and an online video accusing the judge of bias should be taken down.