Section Of Lawyers Locked Court Room From Outside- Justice Mantha Directs To Look At CCTV Footage To Identify Lawyers
Justice Rajasekhar Mantha of the Calcutta High Court has directed to look at the CCTV footage from his Courtroom premises for the purpose of identifying the Advocates who locked his Court Room No. 13 from the outside.
Justice Rajasekhar Mantha had initiated suo-motu criminal contempt proceedings after a large group of alleged pro-Trinamool Congress lawyers blockaded his Court on January 9 and allegedly pasted posters against the Judge in the High Court premises as well as near the residence of the Judge. (read report)
The Court also noted in the order that "defamatory posters" have been affixed around the residence of the Judge at Jodhpur Park in Kolkata and around the precincts of the High Court. The Court kept one of each such poster in English and Bengali with the records of the case.
“The false, misleading, baseless and reckless allegations in the said posters in the residential area of the constitutional functionary and the precincts of the High Court are scandalous and tend to scandalize the Court and the Judge and an attempt to lower the authority of the Court inter alia in the public at large”, the Court observed.
At the request of the Calcutta High Court, Senior Advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya and Advocate Samim Ahamed appeared before the Court. Advocate Bhattacharya submitted that it is a fit case for taking cognizance of the incidents and issuing a Rule of Suo Motu contempt.
The Court said, “There has been a clear attempt to interfere with the justice delivery system of this Constitutional Court by the said section of the Advocates and persons, by locking up the Court room from outside and preventing access to the Court room to lawyers, litigants and Court staff.”
“… this Court issues a Suo Motu Rule of contempt against the said advocates and the concerned persons. The Registrar General of this Court can identify the names particulars of the said advocates and persons from the CCTV footage of the date and time outside Court Room No.13. Further names may be obtained by the office of the Registrar General from other interested persons”, the Court ordered.
The Court further said that such acts constitute criminal contempt within the meaning of Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971.
The Court observed that it is a matter of "grave importance concerning the dignity of this Court" and ordered that the matter be placed before the Chief Justice for the constitution of an appropriate bench to hear the matter.
The Court directed that a copy of the order be made available to the Advocate General, the President of the Bar Library Club, the President of the Bar Association and the President of the Incorporated Law Society.
Incidentally, last year the President of the Calcutta High Court Bar Association had threatened another Judge, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay who was hearing a matter related to the West Bengal teachers' recruitment scam, saying that he knows how to deal with a judge. A video showed a lawyer using unparliamentary language against Justice Gangopadhyay in his Court during the same hearing.