There could not have been a conviction based solely on the allegations, the Bench said.
Setting aside conviction of a lawyer for contempt of court, the Supreme Court has observed that there could not be a conviction based solely on allegations and the contemnor has to be given an opportunity to establish his innocence.
The additional sessions judge referred to the high court on receiving a complaint from a person that his lawyer had charged him exorbitant fees of Rs. 7.05 lakh, without any active assistance to the accused and had also withdrawn from the case. The high court convicted the lawyer for contempt. The lawyer assailed this order before the apex court.
A bench comprising Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice R Banumathi observed that the lawyer was not granted an opportunity to establish his innocence, except the opportunity of filing an affidavit. The court also found that the disciplinary authority of Delhi Bar Council had completely absolved the lawyer, in the complaint filed before it, in this regard.
“Unless the allegations made by the de facto complainant who was an accused in a criminal case under the NDPS Act, had actually been established or proved in accordance with law, there could not have been a conviction based solely on the allegations,” the bench said.