The Allahabad High Court has cancelled the bail of an Advocate who was involved in sending obnoxious messages to a female Judge. The accused was granted bail by the Sessions Court for the offences under Sections 186, 228, 352, 353, 354, 354-D, 506, and 509 of the IPC and Section 67 of the I.T. Act.

A Single Bench of Justice Siddharth held, “The impact of the conduct attributed to opposite party no.2 is such that it will have deleterious effect on the functioning of the judicial system at the grass root of level. It ought to have considered by the Sessions Judge in that context. This has not been done. This Court is of the view that given aforesaid circumstances and the fact that Investigation was under progress, grant of bail to opposite party no.2 cannot be countenanced. Hence bail granted by the court below to opposite party no.2 is hereby cancelled.”

The Bench further directed the accused to surrender before the court concerned and directed the Trial Court to conclude the trial against him within six months.

The applicant Isha Agrawal appeared in person while Advocate Manu Sharma appeared for the opposite parties.

In this case, the applicant was posted as Metropolitan Magistrate and at the time of the incident, she was posted as Civil Judge (Junior Division)/Judicial Magistrate in District Court Maharajganj. While she was performing her judicial duty, the accused who was a practicing Advocate in the same court started sending obnoxious messages and casting certain remarks through messages on the Facebook account of the applicant.

On noticing the same, the applicant blocked him but thereafter, he got her official mobile number and started sending messages on the same. He used to come to her court without any work and gazed at her continuously and when the limit to tolerance was crossed by him, the applicant lodged the FIR against him as a result of which he got arrested but the Sessions Judge granted him bail.

The High Court in the above regard noted, “… the learned Sessions Judge has neither considered the correct, legal and factual position of the case while granting bail to the opposite party no.2 nor has applied mind to the future repercussions of granting bail to an accused involved in committing such offences against a female Presiding Officer of a Court of Law.”

The Court observed that the conduct of the accused was not only criminal in nature and unbecoming of an Officer of the court, but he also committed criminal contempt of court since his act amounted to interference with the course of justice and obstruction in the administration of justice.

“Conduct of opposite party no.2 against the applicant amounted to creation of fear in the minds of the female Presiding Officers of District Court faced with the acts of sexual harassment. No Presiding Officer of a court can be expected to discharge her official duties of administration of justice freely and fairly with a balanced and composed state of mind, if such acts or the mere apprehension thereof are there”, the Court further observed.

The Court said that the apprehension of harassment through spoken words and written words and stalking in court will always loom large over her psyche and in a situation where the Presiding Officer of the court is herself not secure, it cannot be expected that she would be able to protect the litigants, who appear before her for protection of their modesty from unwarranted incursions and outrage by accused.

“This Court has come across another such case of another district, wherein a future date has been fixed and it appears that this malice is spreading fast in the district courts. … this Court is of the firm view that before this menace spreads further the accused, like the opposite party no.2, ought to be dealt with iron hands through initiation of proceedings for criminal contempt. Policy of Zero Tolerance in such matters has become imperative”, the Court also said.

The Court, therefore, directed the Registry to place the case before the appropriate Bench within two weeks for taking suo-motu cognizance of the criminal contempt committed by the accused.

Accordingly, the Court cancelled the bail of the accused.

Cause Title- Isha Agrawal v. State of U.P. and Another

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