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"No Room For Arrogance, No License To Intimidate The Court": Bombay HC Reprimands Advocate Over Allegations Of Bias, Delayed Hearing

Sharmeen Hakim
22 April 2022 10:17 AM GMT
No Room For Arrogance, No License To Intimidate The Court: Bombay HC Reprimands Advocate Over Allegations Of Bias, Delayed Hearing
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The Bombay High Court recently observed that while an advocate's frustration over a delayed hearing was understandable, but it didn't give them a license to intimidate the Court and make reckless allegations against a Judge polluting the very fountain of justice. Justice Anuja Prabhudessai reprimanded a lawyer for making allegations of "partiality" and "unfairness" against...

The Bombay High Court recently observed that while an advocate's frustration over a delayed hearing was understandable, but it didn't give them a license to intimidate the Court and make reckless allegations against a Judge polluting the very fountain of justice.

Justice Anuja Prabhudessai reprimanded a lawyer for making allegations of "partiality" and "unfairness" against the court during a bail hearing and said that the advocate's conduct was "unbecoming of an advocate".

"An advocate as an Officer of the Court is under an obligation to maintain the dignity and decorum of the Court. There is no room for arrogance and there is no license to intimidate the Court, make reckless accusations and allegations against a Judge and to pollute the very fountain of justice."

Justice Prabhudessai noted in her order that Advocate Anjali Patil had circulated the bail application of a man accused in a POCSO case, for urgent listing. However, when a query was raised by the court whether there was any urgency as to take up the matter out of turn, Patil, "went totally off the tangent" and alleged that the court was giving priority only to certain matters and to certain advocates and thus insinuated that the Court was not fair and was bias, the order read.

Patil, according to the order, further alleged that litigants do not get justice from the Court and threatened to complain to the Chief Justice about the court's conduct. The allegations were made in a packed courtroom of lawyers and litigants.

While granting an adjournment, Justice Prabhudessai said that advocate Anjali Patil, had "grossly overstepped the limits of propriety."

"The advocate has every right to protect the interest of his/her clients. An advocate is answerable to his/her clients and the frustration of an advocate when the matter gets adjourned for whatsoever reason or does not reach the board is understandable."

"It has to be borne in mind that casting scurrilous aspersions not only has inevitable effect of undermining the confidence of the public in the judiciary but also has the tendency to interfere with the administration of justice," the bench observed.

The bail application of Patil's client Dipak Kanojiya filed in 2021 was then adjourned to April 21 and subsequently to April 22. He is accused of offences under sections 10 and 12 of the POCSO Act.

Earlier Justice Prabhudessai pulled up former Home minister Anil Deshmukh's lawyers for seeking an urgent listing of his bail application and directed him to produce medical papers to make out the urgency.

It may be noted that there is a severe dearth of judges in the Bombay High Court.

Despite a sanctioned strength of 94 judges, the Bombay High Court is currently functioning with a strength of only 57 judges. Eleven judges from the Bombay High Court retire this year. Therefore, by the end of 2022, the High Court will have only 48 judges if the vacancies are not filled.

In fact the Bombay Lawyers' Association has filed a PIL for a permanent mechanism for filling up such vacancies in time. However, the CJ had asked the petitioners to approach the SC with such a request.

"Due to the shortage of Judges, it is experienced that there is a huge pendency of matters for years together. There are so many matters not even listed for hearing. Due to shortage of Judges, no urgent listing is granted. The official data from the website of Hon'ble this Court shows the case clearance rate in the year 2021 is 67.52%, which means there are pendency of 32.48 per cent cases in the year 2021," a PIL states.

Case Title: Dipak Kalicharan Kanojiya v. State of Maharashtra and anr.

Citation:2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 153

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