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Madras HC frames contempt case against actor Ishari K. Ganesh for seeking favour from judge

Tamil actor & film producer Ishari K. Ganesh and his aide Anantha Raman tried get a Madras HC judge to postpone the South Indian Artists Association elections.

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New Delhi: The Madras High Court has initiated a criminal contempt case against well-known Tamil actor and film producer Ishari K. Ganesh and his associate Anantha Raman for trying to curry favour with a judge to postpone the elections of South Indian Artists Association, popularly known as Nadigar Sangam, which were held on 23 June.

Ganesh is also the founder of Vels Educational Trust, and serves as chairman and vice- chancellor of Vels University, Chennai.

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh observed that the attempt to influence him to postpone the elections “came as a bolt from the blue” to him.

Framing charges against Ganesh, who was a stakeholder in the elections, and Raman on 22 June, the judge noted: “This in my view is a shocking state of affairs where a party interested in the litigation, and who is also said to be a contestant in the election, had the audacity to approach a Judge of this Court and seek for a favour.”

Earlier this month, the elections were indefinitely postponed by the District Registrar of Societies on grounds of doubts over electoral rolls. However, the high court paved the way for the elections to be held on 23 June and directed the Nadigar Sangam to withhold the results until further orders.

Also read: Orissa HC judge ‘misused power’ to seek private temple tour for brother

What actually happened

Narrating the sequence of events in the order, Justice Venkatesh said he was in Vellore when he received an urgent phone call on 22 June from the HC registrar informing him that the high court chief justice had allowed an urgent plea made by Nadigar Sangam, seeking police protection for the elections that were slated for the next day.

The judge said he was returning to Chennai when he received a call from Raman, who is his acquaintance. “This person is well known to me and therefore, I started the conversation in a casual manner,” the order stated.

“All of a sudden, he started talking to me regarding the Nadigar Sangam Association case and told me that Mr. Ishari K. Ganesh is interested in this case and he wants the case to be adjourned by a couple of weeks in order to ensure that the elections are not conducted on 23.06.2019 and in the meantime, something can be done to postpone the elections,” the order read.

The judge noted that by the time he reached home 15 minutes before the hearing was scheduled at 5 pm, he had received multiple calls from Raman and was also personally approached by him near a lift in his residence.

“Mr. Ishari K. Ganesh wanted to influence the course of proceedings in the writ petition through Mr. Anantha Raman and thereby both of them have interfered with the due course of the judicial proceedings, which tend to obstruct the administration of justice,” the judge said.

“A Criminal contempt has been committed on the face of the High Court by both the above said persons,” the judge noted.

Also read: Two Supreme Court benches, two different takes on freedom of speech and expression


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