Bombay HC Directs Youtube, Google To Remove Courtroom Video; Issues Contempt Notice To Lawyer, Others

While hearing a contempt petition filed by the Bombay Bar Association (BBA) against an advocate and nine others, the Bombay High Court has directed Youtube and Google to remove a secretly recorded video of proceedings inside Justice SJ Kathawalla’s courtroom.

A division bench headed by Justice AS Oka also issued contempt notices against people who were involved in recording and uploading the video that was projected as a sting operation.

The decision on whether contempt proceedings will be initiated against advocate Nilesh Ojha, who is featured in the video, or not will be taken on February 22.

Senior Counsel Rafiq Dada appeared for BBA and informed the bench that the video, which is said to be more than 30 minutes long, was uploaded online last week on a website.

In the video, a person, acting as an anchor, takes interviews of several people. According to Dada, one of these persons is advocate Nilesh Ojha, and all of them are seen making scandalous remarks against judges of the Bombay High Court. The video also includes clippings of the court proceedings shot secretly by one Gopal Shetye.

Speaking to Livelaw, president of the Bombay Bar, Senior Advocate Milind Sathe said: “One of his (Ojha’s) clients secretly and surreptitiously recorded proceedings in Justice Kathawalla’s court and then he proclaimed it to be a sting operation and that he had caught corruption in that sting. There is nothing in that video. They just claim to have caught corruption.”

Rafiq Dada pointed out that the requisite approval for initiating contempt action had already been obtained from Advocate General Rohit Deo, however, Deo refused to approve contempt action against Google and Youtube.

Show cause notices were issued to Youtube and Google, asking why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them.

As reported earlier, Justice Kathawalla had suggested the Administrative Committee of the High Court to disallow mobile phones within courtrooms after this incident happened. Mobile phones were barred from courtrooms on Monday, after someone was caught recording a video in the chief’s court.

This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.

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  • Ashiq Merchant says:

    *If any Judge is Corrupt then name him publicly*
    *Chief Justice of India*

    *Name corrupt judges but don’t put all in one basket: Chief Justice*

    (PRESS TRUST OF INDIA)
    (Publish Date: Nov 27 2011 12:00PM)
    ________________________________________
    New Delhi, Nov 26: As demands for judicial accountability continue to grow, Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia today said if any judge is believed to be corrupt he should be named in public but putting all judges in “one basket” should be avoided.
    Justice Kapadia said the entire judicial system cannot be brought to disrepute because of few erring judges.
    “If you feel that a judge is corrupt then take a stand and name him in public and tell the Chief Justice instead of making a generalisation.
    But do not put all judges in one basket. Do not bring the entire judiciary in disrepute. Please do not dismantle the established system and institution unless and until you have something better to offer,” Justice Kapadia said on the occasion of the Law Day celebration here.

  • Prakash.M.P., Adv. says:

    Courts are to be open. High Court is a court of Record and both the judges and advocates are required to keep dignity and decorum. If a judge or the advocate fail to observe the required standard expected, the judicial system would fail.
    If scandalous, of course, the person recorded the proceedings and uploaded are to be tried.
    It is common that the judges, who have conviction on issues get irritated and become angry when a lawyer argues against.
    How can an upright advocate be saved from the arrogance of the judges?
    Contempt proceedings can further the fear and not respect to the judiciary.

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