The Supreme Court of India Friday suspended YouTuber Savukku Shankar’s six-month imprisonment that was imposed by the High Court of Madras in a suo moto petition against him for his remarks on the Indian judiciary.In July, in an interview with Red Pix, Shankar remarked that “the entire higher judiciary is riddled with corruption.” On his remark, the bench of Justice GR Swaminathan and Justice B Pugalendhi of Madras High Court issued a notice of contempt against him. According to the Contempt of Courts Act, of 1971, contempt of court can either be civil contempt or criminal contempt. Civil contempt means willful disobedience of any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other processes of a court, or willful breach of an undertaking given to a court. Criminal contempt means the publication of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which scandalizes, lowers, prejudices, or interferes with the authority of any court or judicial proceedings.On September 15, the Madras High Court bench held Shankar guilty of criminal contempt and sentenced him to a six-month imprisonment. The court observed that no exception can be taken to fair criticism of one’s judgments or judicial functioning and Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech and expression; however, this right is not absolute and is subject to Article 19(2) of the Constitution.On appeal, the division bench of Madras High Court refused to suspend the six-month sentence, after which Shankar was taken to Madurai jail. Shankar’s filed a Special Leave Petition against the High Court order before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court after issuing notice, suspended the sentence of the Shankar on terms and conditions to be fixed by the Registrar of the Madras High Court. The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice Khanna and Justice Maheshwari also directed Shankar to not make any videos and post them on YouTube and not to make any comments upon the present proceedings and the orders passed by the Madras High Court on social media.

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