SC lets off Manoj Tiwari in contempt case, but says his actions ‘shocking’

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New Delhi, Nov Nov 22 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday let off Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari in a contempt case against him for breaking the seal of a commercial establishment.

The court, however, said his actions were “painful and shocking,” leaving it to the better judgment of the BJP to “take action against” the lawmaker.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader had drawn the court’s ire when he broke the seal of a dairy in Mangolpuri area in the capital on September 15.

“We are extremely pained by the brazen manner in which Tiwari took the law into his own hands and broke or tampered with the seal,” a bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer said in their judgement.

The consequence of such behaviour by an elected representative of taking law into his hands could be “devastating in a given situation”, the court said. He acted “irresponsibly,” not expected from an elected representative and a lawmaker.

The court said a leader is expected to lead and guide the people and not blindly follow a mob.

“We are pained because Tiwari is an elected MP and hopefully a responsible citizen of Delhi. Should an elected representative defy the rule of law in this manner”, asked Justice Lokur speaking for the bench.

The court expressed “shock” over the justification provided by Tiwari. He had said that he was a “popular leader of a political party and on seeing him in that area, a mob of about 1,500 people had gathered and goaded him to break the seal.”

The court said what is quite explicit is that “instead of pacifying the mob and act in accordance with law”, Tiwari acted irresponsibly by taking the law into his own hands.

The court asked: if a mob goads an elected MP to commit a far more serious offence, would it mean that the elected representative would act on the instructions of the mob and commit the offence?

The court said it is “disconcerting to note that an elected member of a responsible political party can succumb to pressure from a mob rather than require the mob to follow the rule of law.”

“In such a situation, the elected representative ceases to be a leader and becomes a blind follower”, the court said, underlining the quality of a leader to lead the people and not follow the mob.

The court initiated the contempt case against Tiwari on the basis of September 18, 2018 report of the court-appointed Monitoring Committee.

The court had by its February 16, 2006 order set up the Monitoring Committee to assist it in dealing with the unauthorised construction in the national capital.

The Monitoring Committee had referred to media reports on Tiwari breaking the seal that was put up by the Veterinary Services Department of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) on a property in village Gokalpur, Shahadra area of Delhi, on September 16, 2018.

Letting Tiwari off the hook, the court noted that the sealing of the unlicenced dairy had nothing to do with the monitoring committee and that the entire act of sealing was done independently by the Veterinary Services Department of EDMC.

–IANS

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