Thackeray gets reprieve in contempt case

New Delhi, Nov 29 | Updated: Nov 30 2004, 05:30am hrs
In a relief to Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, the Supreme Court on Monday set aside a Bombay HC order of 1997 convicting him for contempt of court for levelling bribery charges against a judge in his Dussehra public speech at Shivaji Park in Mumbai in 1996.

A bench comprising Justice YK Sabharwal, Justice DM Dharmadhikari and Justice Tarun Chatterjee, in a unanimous decision, said that as the contempt proceedings were initiated at the behest of a private party, the latter should first have obtained the consent of the advocate general of Maharashtra.

As no consent was obtained before filing of the petition by Congress leader Harish Pimpalkhute, the high court committed an error by going ahead with the contempt proceedings, the bench observed.

Mr Thackeray was sentenced to imprisonment for one week and asked to pay a fine of Rs 2,000 for making the contemptuous statement in Saamna.