Travesty of justice: Contemnor will be a guest of honor

By Pervez Bari,,

Bhopal: It would be a travesty of justice when a contemnor, who was reprimanded by the judiciary for defaming Vigilance Comission, will rub shoulders and grace the dais with the bigwigs of this institution and the Union Law Minister.

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The case in point is Umashankar Gupta, Home Minister Madhya Pradesh who as a Mayor of Bhopal, was warned in 2001 for contempt of the Madhya Pradesh Vigilance Commissioner.

Gupta will be the Guest of Honour at the All-India Conference of Lokayuktas and Up-Lokayuktas (Vigilance & Deputy Vigilance Commissioners) which will be held here on Saturday, October 9 at Vidhan Sabha Bhawan.

Others who will grace the occasion include Union Law Minister Verappa Moily, state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Madhya Pradesh High Court Chief Justice Syed Rafat Alam, former Chief Justice J. S. Verma, Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta Justice Prakash P. Naolekar and Up-Lokayukta Justice Chandra Bhushan.

It may be recalled here that the then Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta (Vigilance Commissioner) Justice Faizanuddin in 1999 had referred to the Jabalpur-based state High Court a statement by Umashankar Gupta for contempt proceedings.

Gupta had alleged in a statement that the then state Chief Minister Digvijay Singh got a contract awarded to Justice Faizanuddin’s son M. Z. Siddiqui to influence the Lokayukta’s probes against the Chief Minister’s friends.

Taken aback Justice Faizanuddin, well-known for his integrity and honesty, filed contempt proceedings against Gupta, who was then Mayor of Bhopal, in Madhya Pradesh High Court. The High Court in its order dated February 5, 2001 had lambasted Gupta in unequivocal terms.

The High Court order had stated:“In our opinion, the offending statement is couched in such a way that it does tend to create an impression that the Lokayukta can be influenced, which shall definitely erode the confidence of the people in the institution of Lokayukta and will affect its credibility and lower down its dignity in the estimation of the public. We are further of the opinion that the contemnor had unnecessarily dragged the name of Lokayukta while attacking his political rival. Accordingly we hold the contemnor guilty for the contempt”.

Meanwhile, the present Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta P. Naolekar has reportedly pleaded ignorance about the case and stated that Gupta has been invited as Home Minister. ([email protected])