The Supreme Court today accepted the apology tendered by an Advocate On Record Mohit Chaudhary and dropped contempt proceedings against him, but debarred him from practicing as an Advocate-On-Record for one month.
"We are thus of the view that the appropriate course of action would be that the contemnor is not permitted to practice as an Advocate-on-Record, for a period of one month from the date of the order. A painful task had to be performed and is performed", states the Order.
"The present case is clearly one where this Court is of the opinion that the conduct of the contemnor is unbecoming of an Advocate-on-Record. The pre-requisites of the proviso are met, by the reason of the Bench being constituted itself by the Chief Justice, and the contemnor being aware of the far more serious consequences, which could have flowed to him. The learned senior counsel representing the petitioner has thrown him at the mercy of the Court. We have substantively accepted the request but lesser consequences have been imposed on the contemnor".
On April 7 the bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar had pulled up Chaudhary for complaining about alleged "manipulation" by the apex court registry to list a matter before a particular bench and warned him of initiating contempt proceeding saying such endeavour will straight away land him in jail.
CJI had said advocate Chaudhary should be ashamed of himself for making such an allegation against the Supreme Court registry.
"You are an advocate on record of this court. You must know the working of the Supreme Court registry. Your allegations are contempt of court....
"You take contempt notice right away and file an affidavit within one hour stating whatever you want to say. You will have to go to jail straight away from here," the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul had said.
The bench said there is a judicial order for listing the matter and when the registry has listed the case, the lawyer is accusing the Supreme Court of manipulation.
"There is a judicial order for listing the matter before a special bench and when it is listed you are accusing the registry. You people think you can tell anything here.
"Are you not ashamed of yourself? What nonsense is this.
This is not done. Shame on you," the CJI had said.
An upset Justice Khehar made the remarks when Chaudhary, appearing for a construction firm, said the matter was directed to be listed today but in a "manipulated way", it has been listed before a special bench".
The bench initially cautioned the advocate saying, "Be careful with what you say. What is this manipulation." The lawyer then persisted saying the matter was to be listed before a regular bench but the registry has listed it before a special bench for which there is no need.