The Delhi High Court on Tuesday reprimanded Advocate Deepak Khosla, advising him to be “more temperate and civilized in his communications, oral as well as written”, while refusing to allow his application for video recording of Court proceedings.
The Application under consideration had, alternatively, demanded that the proceedings at least be audio recorded or transcribed by multiple court stenographers at Mr. Khosla’s expense. He had submitted that the pleadings submitted by the Petitioner, Mr. Vikram Bakshi and his Counsels were contrary to the facts on records, and hence, the proceedings were required to be recorded.
The Court, however, refused to accept such reasoning, observing that such allegations were supposed to be pleaded and argued in the Court. “There is no requirement, whatsoever, either in fact or in law, for audio- or video-recording the proceedings merely for this reason,” it observed.
“Even if it were to be assumed that the pleadings in a given case, or arguments advanced before court therein, were contrary to the record, or even patently perjurious in nature, that would not make out a case for directing the video/audio recording of the proceedings. It is always open to every litigant to produce all evidence, available with her or him, in rebuttal of the stand taken by the opposite party, or to point out, on the basis thereof, the unfairness, or even falsehood, of such stand. These are maters for argument and evidence, and cannot be a basis to claim that the proceedings require to be and video-recorded or audio-recorded,” Justice C. Hari Shankar further opined.
Nevertheless, in view of the decisions cited by Mr. Khosla, the Court inquired whether the Counsels appearing for the Respondents were open to video recording of the proceedings. The Counsels, Mr Kirti Uppal and Ms Rebecca John, responded in the negative.
Advocate Deepak Khosla faces the Court’s wrath
Justice C. Hari Shankar noted that Mr. Khosla had re-argued the same issue on at least two earlier occasions in different Petitions, without disclosing this fact to the Bench, and opined that his conduct amounted to “an attempt at adventurism, and to plainly abusive of the process of law, apparently with a view to protract the proceedings and avoid a hearing on the substantive petition.”
On being questioned about such omission, Mr. Khosla contended that the standard of disclosure which applies to a Counsel is different from that which applies to a party arguing in person.
The Court refused to accept this contention, observing, “This court is unaware of any principle of law or procedure to the effect that the standard of disclosure, in proceedings before a court, are different, in the case of counsel, as compared to party arguing in person.(sic)”
“…this court is further constrained to note that the tone and tenor of the allegations levelled by Mr Khosla against counsel, including senior counsel, especially in his e-mail dated 30th April 2017, are objectionable and are practically an attempt at insult, rather than a reflection of injury,” the Court further opined.
It, thereafter, dismissed the application with costs of Rs. 20,000 to be deposited with the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund within a period of two weeks.
Not a first for Mr. Khosla
Last year, in February, the Delhi High Court had taken serious exception to its two-Judge Bench being called a “Dedh bench” (one-and-a-half bench) by Mr. Khosla, and had ruled that he was in criminal contempt of the Court.
Thereafter, in March, the Supreme Court had initiated contempt proceedings against Mr. Khosla, who had moved the Apex Court against the High Court’s order. He was also restrained from entering the Registry of Supreme Court.