The Bombay High Court recently sentenced an advocate to a week’s simple imprisonment noting that it was an exceptional case involving an advocate who has been practicing for 18 years.
A division bench of Justice TV Nalawade and Justice V Kankanwadi of the Aurangabad bench passed the judgment in a petition filed by sessions judge under the Contempt of Courts Act seeking action against a 55-year-old lawyer Ramchandra Kagne who has been practicing for 18 years.
According to the petitioner judge, in 2005, Kagne was appearing before him representing an accused under Section 376(2) of the Indian Penal Code.
The matter was kept for final arguments on October 7, 2005, and the petitioner heard the arguments on that day. He started dictating the order at noon and once it was pronounced, the accused was held guilty and advocate Kagne was asked to make submissions regarding sentencing.
Kagne then got up and started shouting loudly. He snatched the notebook of the stenographer and flung it, which hit the head of the additional public prosecutor RR Sharma. Thereafter, the advocate was asked to calm down, but he did not listen and called the judge a fool.
Apparently, the accused lawyer said: “I will see how judgment is given. Bullying of the Court will not be tolerated. Foolish Magistrate.”
Kagne did not stop at this. He again flung the notebook and warned the judge not to pronounce the judgment.
Consequently, a show-cause notice was issued to advocate Kagne and the petitioner judge alleged that the advocate had committed an offence under Sections 228 and 353 of IPC.
The court noted how Kagne did not respond to notices issued to him in the contempt petition. Further, Kagne did not appear even after bailable warrants were issued against him. Finally, Kagne filed his reply after a non-bailable warrant was issued.
The court said-
“This is definitely an act of scandalising and obstruction in the administration of justice. Interference in the administration of justice by giving threats, snatching the steno diary, addressing the judicial officer in loud voice, are definitely serious acts, more so when such acts have been done by an advocate who is the officer of the Court. In fact, an advocate is supposed to maintain the decorum of the Court, he should promote and see that all others who are present should also maintain the decorum of the Court. Obstruction in judicial process by an advocate cannot be tolerated. In fact, by the said act on the part of the respondent No.1, the petitioner could not discharge his duty. This may amount to an offence under Section 353 of the Indian Penal Code but that does not debar this Court from taking cognizance under Contempt of Courts Act.”
It further noted that the accused lawyer never denied the incident specifically but only stated that he was protecting his client’s interest.
“Definitely it was his duty his duty to represent his client but when the client, that is the accused, who was facing the trial was being punished by the Court of law, then he should have accepted the sentence. If at all anything was to be agitated, it should have been by set principles of law.”
Thus, Kagne was sentenced to simple imprisonment for one week.
Read the Judgment Here