"Express Remorse In Person": Court After Vivek Agnihotri's Written Apology For Tweet About Judge

Vivek Agnihotri, through his lawyer, said he had deleted the tweet; the lawyer assisting the court said he had not, but Twitter had taken it down

'Express Remorse In Person': Court After Vivek Agnihotri's Written Apology For Tweet About Judge
New Delhi:

Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri submitted an unconditional apology, through his lawyer, to the Delhi High Court in a contempt-of-court case over his 2018 allegations that a judge was biased in granting relief to activist Gautam Navlakha in the Bhima Koregaon violence case. But court underlined its order for him to appear at the next hearing and "show remorse in person".

"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 bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh told his lawyer.

The court had initiated contempt proceedings against Vivek Agnihotri, writer Anand Ranganathan, and news portal Swarajya after taking note of remarks against Justice S Muralidhar, who is at present the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court. 

At the last hearing, the court asked Vivek Agnihotri to be present in person on March 16.

Today, the filmmaker, known most recently for 'The Kashmir Files', submitted an apology affidavit through his lawyer and said he had deleted the tweet in question. However, the Amicus Curiae — lawyer appointed by court to assist it — said Mr Agnihotri had not deleted it, but Twitter had taken it down.

The remarks — insinuating that the judge was biased for his association with Mr Navlakha's family — were made after the court had quashed activist Gautam Navlakha's house arrest order and transit remand. 

RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy was also named over some of his remarks, but was later dropped from the case as he apologised.

The court had directed two social media platforms to block the weblinks of an article levelling scandalous allegations against the judge. The case stems from a letter to the court by senior advocate Rajshekhar Rao, who alleged that Vivek Agnihotri's tweet was "a deliberate attempt to attack a sitting high court judge".

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Mr Navlakha, 70, was later arrested in 2020 and is currently in house arrest in the case, which relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the 'Elgar Parishad' conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which Pune police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.

(With inputs by PTI)

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