Kochi: Culture Minister K C Joseph on Tuesday tendered an "unconditional and unqualified apology" before the High Court for derogatory remarks made by him against a judge of the court.
The Minister, who was ordered to be present before the Court on Tuesday, informed it through an affidavit filed by his counsel, that he could not make it due to the ongoing budget session of Kerala assembly.
The division bench, comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Sunil Thomas, said the apology will be considered only after his personal appearance before the court. Considering the criminal contempt case filed against him on the issue, the High Court directed the personal appearance of Joseph on March 1.
On February 2, the bench had passed the order on a petition by V Sivankutty, MLA, who alleged that the Minister had committed criminal contempt by making derogatory remarks against Justice Alexander Thomas who had criticised the style of functioning of the Advocate General's office.
In an affidavit filed before the High Court, Joseph said "I have utmost respect for this hon'ble court and as a law- abiding citizen, I have no intention to bring disrepute to the instituion of judiciary or any individual judge." He said the expressions used by him in the Facebook post were not intended to make any slanderous remarks against the judicial system or cause insinuation against a particular judge or to the system as a whole.
"I have always maintained the highest respect for the institution of judiciary and have never attempted to offend the majesty of law, undermine dignity of courts or obstruct the administration of justice."
"I hereby tender unconditional and unqualified apology before this Honourable court and pray that the Honourable Court may be pleased to accept my apology and drop all further proceedings in contempt against me," he said in his affidavit.
The Minister had made the remarks in a Facebook post in July last while reacting to the Judge's observations.