Attorney General K K Venugopal has declined to give his consent for initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi for his remarks that an inquiry commission had observed VD Savarkar was complicit in Mahatma Gandhi's murder.
A think tank had written to the AG seeking his consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Mr Owaisi for his remarks.
Mr Venugopal said it is true that the judgment of the top court also notes the fact that VD Savarkar has been found not guilty of Gandhiji's murder in the criminal trial.
However, if one reads the judgement as a whole, it is clear that the court was disinclined to go into the findings of the Justice Kapoor Commission of Inquiry, the AG said.
"I may also point out that Justice Kapoor has retired as a judge of the Supreme Court in the year 1962, and hence was a retired judge when he was appointed as Commission of Inquiry in 1966. The statement made by Owaisi is relatable, therefore, to the finding of Justice Kapoor Commission and not the Supreme Court.
"It would therefore be difficult to hold that he has committed contempt of the Supreme Court by suggesting and/or implying that a sitting judge of the Supreme Court had held that Savarkar was complicit in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi, which is completely contrary to factual reality. I am therefore constrained to decline consent for initiation of contempt proceedings against Owaisi," the AG in his reply dated October 26 said.
In a letter to Mr Owaisi, the Abhinav Bharat Congress and its founder Pankaj Phadnis had referred to a Supreme Court judgement dated March 28, 2018 which stated, "The submission of the petitioner that Shri Savarkar has been held guilty for the murder of Gandhiji is misplaced."
"After this categorical assertion by the highest court of the country, where is the scope to suggest that Savarkar 'murdered' Gandhi ji, as you are reported to have said?" the think tank had said in its October 15 letter to Owaisi.
In a letter to the AG on October 23, the think tank had said, "This has reference to our letter of October 15, 2021 addressed to Owaisi. You will notice that the said letter was a polite request to cease and desist from suggesting and/or imputing in any manner that Savarkar was held guilty of murder of Gandhi ji.
"It was expected that he would issue a clarification to set the record straight. Unfortunately, the said letter has not even been acknowledged by him. As such we seek your kind consent to initiate contempt of Supreme Court proceedings against Owaisi for his remarks on the subject," the think tank had said.
Slamming the RSS and BJP's appreciation of Savarkar, Mr Owaisi had recently claimed that by installing Savarkar's portrait in Parliament, they were sending out a message that Mahatma Gandhi is not going to remain the Father of the Nation and that Savarkar would take his place.
"What pinches me the most as a parliamentarian is that in the Central Hall of Parliament, on one side there is a photo of Mahatma Gandhi and right opposite to it, there is a photo of Savarkar, who was mentioned by Justice Jeevan Lal Kapur Commission," he had told mediapersons.
Savarkar was acquitted due to lack of corroborative evidence during the trial in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, he had said.
Asked about RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's reported comments that Savarkar was not an enemy of Muslims and that he wrote ghazals in Urdu, Owaisi claimed that it is a recorded fact that Savarkar was against Urdu.
He also demanded to know if Mr Bhagwat would refuse the observations of the Justice Kapur Commission of Inquiry in its report that Savarkar was complicit in Mahatma Gandhi's murder and part of the conspiracy.