Saturday, September 23, 2023

Allahabad High Court initiates contempt proceedings against lawyer for disrupting court hearing

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The Allahabad High Court has initiated contempt proceedings against an Advocate for exhorting the members of the Bar to boycott the hearing, creating noisy pandemonium in the Courtroom, leading to interruption in hearings and also for attempting to bring down the authority and dignity of the Court.

A Single Bench of Justice Jyotsna Sharma passed this order while hearing a Criminal Revision filed by Juvenile.

The Additional Government Advocate submitted that the name of the juvenile has been disclosed in the revision memo and therefore, before the matter is heard, that mistake is to be corrected.

The Court noted that the Apex Court, by its judgement passed in Criminal Appeal (Shilpa Mittal vs State of NCT of Delhi), observed that the name of the child in conflict with law is not to be disclosed to give effect to the provisions of Section 74 of the Contempt of Court Act and various other judgments of the Courts.

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The Court observed,

“In umpteen number of cases, while hearing the matters of the juvenile/child in conflict of law, to give effect to above provisions of law and the directions of the Apex Court, I am regularly ordering for deletion of the name of the juvenile to hide his/her identity, so that when the judgment is pronounced and uploaded on the website, his name is not depicted in the title of the case.”

In a number of cases, the Court directed the concerned section of the Registry to rectify the error so that the error is not perpetuated. It may also be noted that unless the title of the case is actually physically corrected in the hard copy of the revision memo, it may not be possible for the concerned section of the Registry to hide the name. It may also be noted that this website is accessible to the general public as well.

However, the moment the mistake was pointed out by O.P Mishra, the AGA, Sunil Kumar, the counsel for the revisionist retorted in a loud voice, within the hearing of the Court as well as all the members of staff and the Bar as well, “who are you to point out my mistake”. The AGA, O.P Mishra kept mum and went back to take his seat without any reaction. The Court noticed the counsel’s arrogant behavior.

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The Court said, “The moment I finished this dictation, he turned towards me to remark ‘I know no such law. I am not bound to obey your order. You will have to hear me.’ I tried to counsel him at first saying that you need to correct the title and that I am fixing a short date for hearing, to which he gave a disdainful reply at the top of his voice. He attempted to overawe and pressurize the Court to hear him today itself taking no notice of the order passed by me.

“The body language and mannerism adopted by the counsel was obnoxious from the beginning, which I ignored for the sake of orderly proceeding in the Court.

He appeared visibly annoyed by my dictation in open Court and kept repeating. He continued with his noisy outbursts causing quite a derangement upsetting the proceeding in the Court.

He exhorted the members of the Bar (who were waiting for their turn) to boycott the hearing. Some of them had to exit unwillingly as his rogueries continued.

He gently pushed many to go out and stood there to check that they actually leave and do not re-enter. His antics went on for at least 15 minutes creating a lot of commotion in the Courtroom and he got engaged in a lot of vocality not expecting that I have been noting down his conduct. His conduct interrupted the Court’s proceedings for about 20-25 minutes and the rest of the matter could not be taken up during this period.”

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The Court further said that for about 20-25 minutes the work remained halted. He created a noisy pandemonium in the Courtroom interrupting the hearings. His contemptuous behavior not only disrupted the working but also attempted to bring down authority and dignity of the Court. The lost time cannot be made up in any manner. Hence, Sunil Kumar, Advocate is being proceeded for contempt of court. 

The Court issued notice against Sunil Kumar, Advocate giving him an opportunity to explain as to why he should not be punished for contempt of court.

The Court directed the Registry to allot an appropriate number to the contempt proceeding being drawn against Sunil Kumar, Advocate and place the matter before the appropriate bench on the next date fixed.

The Court has fixed the next hearing of the petition on November 4, 2022.

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