In Madras High Court, six former Judges addressed a letter to the Chief Justice urging him to stop acting on Justice SM Subramaniam’s letter which called the beginning of contempt against Tamil actor Suriya, for his comments on the conduct of NEET examination in the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter was authored on behalf of Justices (retd.) K Chandru, KN Basha, T Sudanthiram, D Hariparantham, K Kannan, and GM Akbar Ali.
According to the six former Judges, “we are afraid of such construction made on the statement of Suriya will be slightly off the mark and does not require any action as required by the learned judge.” TNAA’s statement has come out in support of Justice Subramaniam stance saying that, “this statement of the actor Mr. Suriya is highly commendable, downgrading the judicial function, defaming the honorable judges (and this) cannot be accepted... he should be dealt appropriately and should face contempt proceedings initiated by the honorable Mr. Justice SM Subramaniam after following the due procedure of law.” TNAA letter further stated that Suriya’s comment does not come under freedom of speech and has crossed all the limits in nailing against judges. It further stated that Suriya had no right to make such statements, especially in a pandemic situation when the courts are continuously functioning without any hindrance and delivering justice to all.
On Sunday, Suriya posted his comments and claimed that Courts are ordering students to take up the NEET exam 2020 when the judges are holding their hearings through virtual mode, and at the same time they expect students to give their exams in this pandemic and risk their lives to danger. “The said statement in my considered opinion amounts to contempt of court as the integrity and devotion of the honorable judges as well as the judicial system of a great nation are not only to undermined but criticized in bad taste, wherein there is a threat to the public confidence on the judiciary,” Justice Subramanian said. Actor Suriya shared a post on Twitter about NEET aspirants who died by suicide. He asked people to raise their voices against the entrance examination conducted for admission to MBBS programs. The note shared by Suriya in Tamil basically states that the government should create equal opportunities for everyone. He further added that people who do not know the reality faced by poor students are framing education policies. Jothisri Durga, a 19-year-old medical aspirant, died of suicide ‘apprehensive’ over the exam. NEET UG 2020 was conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on 13 September in 3860 centers across the country. [READ LETTER]