In the dock

Ex-CJI faces contempt case

By Sreedevi Jacob
Published: Friday 30 April 2004

a contempt of court case has been filed against former Chief Justice of India (cji) B N Kirpal for his remarks against a Kerala High Court (hc) order.

The court had recently refused to stay the Kerala government's directive, restraining Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited (hcbpl) from drawing groundwater at its Plachimada plant in Kerala's Palakkad district till June 15 (see: Down To Earth, 'Coke restrained', Vol 12, No 21, March 31, 2004). Addressing a press conference at Plachimada last month, Justice Kirpal said that the hc should have imposed restrictions on groundwater extraction instead of supporting the government ban.

"This is a clear case of contempt of court. The court had passed only an interim order and (Justice) Kirpal has made these remarks to influence the judge in further proceedings," alleges advocate K Ramkumar. While the case has been filed by advocate Murukadas of Palakkad, Ramkumar is arguing it. Ramkumar is the counsel for Perumatty panchayat, too, which is waging a legal battle against hcbpl (see: 'Calling the shots', Down To Earth, December 15, 2003).

Significantly, the veteran jurist heads the hcbpl's Indian Environment Council, which helps the company steer its environmental plans. He is a member of hcbpl's India Advisory Board too.

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