Bombay HC Rejects Lawyer’s Plea Seeking Compensation of Re 1 From Justice Kathawalla For ‘Defamatory’ Remarks Against Him [Read Order]
‘The incidental observations made by the Court in a judicial order while adjudicating the dispute between the parties remains the same as that of a Judgment delivered in an exercise of jurisdiction.’
The Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed plea of Advocate Mathews J Nedumpara seeking compensation of Re 1 from Justice SJ Kathawalla for making some prejudicial and defamatory observations about him in an order disposing a case, in which he had appeared for a party.
A bench of Justice Shantanu Kemkar and Justice Nitin W Sambre observed that the incidental observations made by the Court in a judicial order while adjudicating the dispute between the parties remains the same as that of a Judgment delivered in an exercise of jurisdiction.
The reliefs sought in the writ petition filed by the lawyer are as follows:
- To declare that the citizen whose fundamental rights are infringed by a judicial order is entitled to all legal remedies, common law, equitable and declaratory, compensation and damages, so too, even criminal action like such infringement at the hands of legislature, executive and fellow citizens, and to assume otherwise will render part III of the Constitution nugatory.
- In the event of prayer (a) above being granted in favour of the Petitioner, he is entitled to initiate civil and even criminal proceedings against Respondent no. 1 (though the Petitioner intends to institute no criminal proceedings) in as much as the observations of Justice Kathawalla, one rendered behind his back is ex-facie false and defamatory, even assuming that the said observations were made without any ulterior or malicious intentions.
- To declare that no distinction can be made between subordinate judiciary and superior judiciary in so far as the prohibition contained in Article 13 (2) of the Constitution is concerned and that the superior judiciary also falls within the ambit of “State” under Article 12 just like the subordinate judiciary.
- To grant compensation of Re. 1 as damages, though the damage suffered by the Petitioner by virtue of the Order at Exhibit-A, dated 05.03.2018 at the hands of Justice Kathawalla is irreparable and cannot be adequately compensated in terms of money.
- Without prejudice to the reliefs (a) to (d) above and in furtherance, thereof relegate the Petitioner to the civil court for the enforcement of the remedies vested in him, his fundamental rights being violated by virtue of Ex P1 at the hands of Justice Kathawalla, Respondent no. 1 above.
The bench referring to judgment in Naresh Shridhar Mirajkar Vs State of Maharashtra observed that the court while pronouncing a judicial verdict, in relation to the matter brought before it, had made those observations, the same cannot be said that there is a violation of his fundamental rights.
“The learned Judge was discharging his judicial function pursuant to power and authority vested in him. While doing so, the observations made against the petitioner, if any are in a judicial order where the purpose is to discharge the function and duties as a judge in the process of administration of justice. As a consequence of the observations made in the Judgment of Supreme Court, the observations made in the impugned Judgment of learned Single Judge is held to be not amounting to any Constitutional infirmity. The very object of deciding the issue canvassed is to deal with the controversy brought before it and nothing more,” the court said.
Holding the writ petition as not maintainable, the bench said: “There is no presumption in law that while a judicial decision is pronounced by the Judge of Competent Jurisdiction in relation to a matter brought before him for adjudication, the observations therein affects the fundamental rights. It is also required to be noted that the observations in the order under reference are of collateral nature while deciding the dispute between the parties brought before the Court. In that view of the matter, the jurisdiction of the Judge to pass an order as is sought to be assailed in the present petition can be challenged in an Appeal as the matter is decided on merits. The character of the order referred to in the present proceedings passed by the learned Judge may be in a matter directly in an issue between the parties or by incidentally to make adjudication of the dispute between the parties as a part of process of fair and effective justice.”Read the Order Here