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.