Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Delhi High Court issues showcause notice to lawyer for posting disrespectful comments during VC hearing

The Delhi High Court has issued a show cause notice to a lawyer for posting contemptuous comments on the chat box during the course of hearing a case through video conference.

The single-judge Bench of Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta asked Advocate Sanjeev Kumar to show cause why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him over his May 6 comments, which were placed on record before the Court.

One of the comments posted by Kumar said, “But this court is slow to hear my cases Jo darta hai, wo kabhi justice nhi kar payega (one who has fear will not be able to do justice).”

The remarks were posted on the WebEx platform, through which the High Court holds virtual hearings, and were reproduced by the single-judge in the order.

The High Court observed that Kumar was expected to maintain decorum. However, the practicing lawyer had not expressed any remorse and rather chose to stand by his comments.

In January 2024, the High Court had dismissed Kumar’s petition against a trial court order with a cost of Rs 25,000. He then filed a review petition against the order.

The comments were posted by Kumar a day before the hearing of his matter.

After the lawyer was asked to explain his comments on May 9, he told the High Court that he would withdraw his review petition and instead move the Supreme Court.

The single-judge Bench then said that while Kumar was free to exercise the remedies available to him in accordance with the law, the same did not give him the liberty to make contemptuous allegations and undermine the authority of the Court.

The single-judge Bench further said that the comments were posted with an intention to interfere with the judicial proceedings and would fall within the ambit of criminal contempt.

Calling the remarks ‘patently contemptuous,’ which interfered with the due course of judicial proceedings, the Bench noted that on the face of record, the comments were placed in the public domain with an intention to scandalise the Court.

Since the remarks have been placed to undermine the authority of the Court in the perception of public at large, the same fell within the ambit of criminal contempt under Section 14 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, it added.

The single-judge Bench directed Kumar to explain why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him within three days.

The High Court then listed the matter for hearing on May 22.

Additional Public Prosecutor Meenakshi Dahiya appeared for the State.


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