Vilification Of Judges Affects Administration Of Justice - Delhi HC Issues Contempt Notice To Lawyer
Justice Jasmeet Singh of the Delhi High Court issued a notice of contempt to an Advocate to show cause as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him. The notice was issued in lieu of the alleged direct attack on the reputation and functioning of the Judges at Delhi High Court made by the Counsel.
In this regard, it was held that – "This vilification of Judges can affect the administration of justice as it becomes a form of public mischief. An unwarranted attack on a Judge, citing and unscrupulous administration cannot be ignored by this Court."
Counsel Virendra Singh (Against whom contempt notice was issued) appeared for the Appellant, while the State was represented by APP Sanjv Sabharwal before the High Court.
The Counsel in a petition filed before the Trial Court had made several allegations against the Judges including allegations of twisting the issues for the convenience of the opposite Counsel and exhibiting favoritism towards the Accused.
In this context, it was observed that – "To make allegations that a Judge deliberately wanted to twist issues in order to favor an accused or that they were personally interested in the matter acted illegally or impartially are unjust statements."
Additionally, when given the opportunity to retract the allegations made in the plaint, the Counsel not only refused to amend the statements but also went on to assert that the statements were facts.
The Bench in its findings observed that – "A bare perusal of the averments made hereinabove show that they are scandalous and aimed at lowering the dignity and majesty of this Court. They have been made malafidely and interfere with administration of justice and amount to contempt. The allegations made in the petition are intrinsically contemptuous in nature and fall within the definition of "Criminal Contempt" of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 under Section 2(c)(i)"
It was also noted that – "The Judiciary is not immune from criticism, but when the criticism is based on distorted facts or gross misrepresentation of material averments, to intentionally lower the dignity and respect of this Court, it must be taken cognizance of"
Relying on Prashant Bhushan & Anr (2021) where it was held that hostile criticism of judges as judges or judiciary would amount to scandalizing the Court and as such any personal attack upon a judge in connection with the office he holds is dealt with under law of libel or slander.
In view of the above, the Court issued a notice of contempt to the Counsel directing a response be filed within 2 weeks showing cause as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him.
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