The Supreme Court, removing a sentence of imprisonment imposed on an Advocate convicted for Contempt of Court, has ordered that his licence to practice will stand suspended for a period of two years.
Ajay Kumar Pandey, was convicted by the Allahabad High Court under the Contempt of Courts Act and sentenced to undergo six months' imprisonment. He was also restrained from entering the premises of District Judgeship, Auraiya, U.P. for a period of five years. The Court had observed “an open attack by misbehaviour and abuse has been shown against concerned Judicial Officer. Wild imaginary allegations against conduct of Judicial Officer without having any material to substantiate the same cannot be tolerated, inasmuch as, it not only brings into disrepute the entire justice system but is also likely to cause serious erosion in the confidence of public in case such tendency is not snuffed at the earliest.”
A Bench comprising of Justices Kurian Joseph and R.F. Nariman observed: “Now that the octogenarian father of the appellant has taken initiative to appeal to the good sense of his son, who is around 50 years of age, and in view of the apology, we are of the view that the appellant need not undergo further incarceration.”
However referring to recent Judgment by a Three Judge Bench of Apex Court in Mahipal Singh Rana Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, the Court said: “Therefore, this appeal is allowed to the extent of removing the sentence of imprisonment imposed on the appellant, but retaining the order in all other respects and additionally, with the imposition of the suspension of licence for a period of two years.”
In Mahipal Singh Rana’s case, the Apex Court had observed: “we do not find any reason to hold that the bar applicable at the entry level is wiped out after the enrollment. Having regard to the object of the provision, the said bar certainly operates post enrollment also. However, till a suitable amendment is made, the bar is operative only for two years in terms of the statutory provision. In these circumstances, Section 24A which debars a convicted person from being enrolled applies to an advocate on the rolls of the Bar Council for a period of two years, if convicted for contempt.”
Read the order here.