'He can purchase anything but he is not above law and the institution': SC slams Lalit Modi

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Supreme Court | Photo: Mathrubhumi

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday came down heavily on ex-IPL commissioner Lalit Modi over his remarks against the judiciary made in social media posts and directed him to tender an unconditional apology on social media platforms and national newspapers.

Observing that Modi is not above law and the institution, a bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar warned any repeat of such conduct will be viewed very seriously.

The apex court also directed him to file an affidavit before it tendering an apology and stating no such posts will be made in future which would tantamount, even remotely, to tarnishing the image of the Indian judiciary.

"We have gone through the counter affidavit filed by the respondent (Modi). We are not at all satisfied with the explanation given. We are of the view even the clarification would tarnish the image of the judiciary.

"Counsel for respondent A M Singhvi has stated at bar that an unconditional apology would be tendered in all social media where he has followers and leading newspapers at Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Madras and Kolkata editions," the bench said while posting the matter for further hearing on April 24.

At the outset, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for CU Singh who has filed the contempt plea, submitted that Modi had made a tweet on March 30, 2023 which tarnished the image of judiciary.

He made scandalous remarks against judges and the apology expressed is to avoid punishment, Singh said.

Claiming Modi has three million followers on Twitter and four million on Instagram, Singh said the former cricket administrator must publish his apology on all social media accounts.

As senior advocate AM Singhvi, representing Modi, started making his submissions, the top court made scathing observations against the ex-IPL boss.

The bench said,"What does he mean by the statement that judges are in pockets of so and so? Does he think that the judiciary is weak? Where is the apology to the court? First you file an unconditional apology. Otherwise you are in contempt. Apology must be made in public. He should say I have trust in the Indian judiciary.

"We don't believe in an apology only on paper in the courtroom. If such a statement is made in public, the public must know that he has tendered an apology. Everybody thinks he will make allegations against the judiciary and we will tolerate," the apex court said.

Singhvi said he has heard the court "loud and clear" and assured the bench his client will tender an apology.

The top court then said," He may be under the impression that he can purchase anything but he is not above law and the institution." PTI

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