On Sunday, hours after Tamil actor Suriya sent out a strongly worded statement on three medical aspirants killing self in Tamil Nadu, pointing out harsh realities of the concept of entrance tests for eligibility into colleges and questioned the courts, Madras High Court judge Justice S.M. Subramaniam called for contempt proceedings against him.
The Soorarai Pottru actor in his statement, questioned the government, the judiciary as well as the media over the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). Calling tests like NEET as ‘Manu Dharma tests” Suriya came down heavily on the government and called for a united voice against it. Stating that the courts have chosen to deliver justice through video conferencing, he said, “while justice is being provided through video conferencing over a fear of infection, the court has ordered the students to be fearless and write the exam in person.”
He also slammed the government for bringing in laws that highlight the inequalities among the people, saying “education policies are framed by those who are unaware of the ground realities of the poor and the down trodden.
Hours after Suriya’s statement was out, Justice S.M. Subramaniam, wrote to A.P. Sahi, Chief Justice of Madras High Court, asking him to initiate contempt proceedings against the actor for commenting on the judicial system. In his letter, Subramanian said that Suriya’s statement warranted contempt proceedings since it criticised the judges and the judicial system of the country. Stating that he saw the actor’s statement being aired on TV and YouTube, the judge referred to Suriya’s comment saying while justice is provided through video conferencing due to fear of infection, the judges have told to the students to appear for exams in person, without fear and write the exam, warranted a contempt.
“The statement reveals that the Honorable Judges are afraid of their own life and rendering justice through video conferencing. While so they have no morale to pass orders directing the students to appear for NEET exam without fear,” Subramaniam wrote in his letter. Stating that Suriya’s statement amounts to “contempt of court” he pointed out that the integrity and devotion of the judges as well as the judicial system “are undermined and criticized in a bad shape.”
“This will lead to a threat for the public confidence on the Judiciary.” Subramaniam wrote in his letter to the CJ to initiate contempt proceedings against Suriya to “uphold the majesty of our Indian Judicial system.”
After Subramaniam’s letter, Tamil Twitter users have come out in support of Suriya. Several questions, on the suo motto contempt initiated against BJP’s senior leader H. Raja for his comments against the High Court and his apology to the court are also being recalled by the social media users. Raja was pulled up by Justice C.T. Selvam, for his comment against the High Court and he apologised.