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Contempt Cases Against Lawyers 'Painful', Their Unwarranted Conduct Erodes Public's Faith In Judicial System: Allahabad HC

Sparsh Upadhyay
27 Dec 2021 6:50 AM GMT
Contempt Cases Against Lawyers Painful, Their Unwarranted Conduct Erodes Publics Faith In Judicial System: Allahabad HC
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Dealing with a contempt case initiated against 12 advocates on the strength of a letter issued to it by the District Judge, Gonda, the Allahabad High Court (Lucknow Bench) observed that it is painful for the Court to deal with the contempt proceedings drawn against the lawyers who are supposed to be the officers of the Court.The Bench of Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Narendra...

Dealing with a contempt case initiated against 12 advocates on the strength of a letter issued to it by the District Judge, Gonda, the Allahabad High Court (Lucknow Bench) observed that it is painful for the Court to deal with the contempt proceedings drawn against the lawyers who are supposed to be the officers of the Court.

The Bench of Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Narendra Kumar Johari also noticed that the uncalled for and unwarranted conduct/behavior of the lawyers has the potential of eroding the faith and trust of the public in the judicial system.

The case in brief

Essentially, the Court was dealing with a contempt matter initiated on the strength of a letter sent to it by the then District Judge, Gonda in the year 2001 to initiate contempt proceedings against 12 lawyers for their misbehavior during lawyers' strike in November and December 2000.

It was stated in the letter that the 12 lawyers, along with other lawyers had indulged in an act of destruction and throwing away the records of the court and had also misbehaved with the then In-charge District Judge on November 14 & December 1, 2000.

The letter also stated that for maintaining peace and order in the court premises, on the request of the District Judge, police personnel were deployed and it is in these circumstances, that the District Judge had requested to initiate contempt proceedings against the contemners.

The then Chief Justice of the High Court, having received the reference, passed an order on October 30, 2001, to place the matter before the appropriate Bench, however, it is only in 2011, that the notices were issued to the respondents directing them to show cause as to why they should not be punished for committing contempt of court.

Appearing before the Court, the respondents/lawyers denied the averments made in the letter and said that the allegations were based on a hearsay story. However, out of twelve respondents, six respondents/lawyers have since died.

Importantly, all the respondents who are alive, submitted their unqualified apology and also stated in their apology that they contemn the alleged incidents as find mentioned in the reference letter of the District Judge.

Court's observations 

At the outset, the Court observed that whenever and wherever the profession of law-practice is ever referred to, the nobility and contribution to the freedom struggle of our nation are the two attributes that rush to the minds of the High Court.

Further, averring that the judiciary neither has the power of sword nor that of a purse and that it stands tall only by virtue of trust and faith of people, the Court further observed thus:

"It is painful for this Court to deal with the contempt proceedings drawn against the lawyers who are supposed to be the officers of the Court first and whose role stands recorded in the annals of history in strengthening the judiciary of our country which is supposed to 2 embark upon a perilous and painstaking path of imparting justice to our citizenry."

However, noting that all the respondents are senior citizens, who are aged between 62 years to 78 years and the incidents, on the basis of which, the contempt proceedings have been instituted, are said to have occurred about 21 years ago, the court opined that the matter now needs to be given a quietus.

Against this backdrop, the Court decided to not pursue this matter further, and therefore, it accepted the apology tendered by the respondents and discharged the notices of contempt issued against them.

However, before parting with the matter, the Court did put on record its anguish and concern emanating from the reports which the Court receives almost on daily basis about the conduct and behavior of the Advocates and expressed its hope that no such incidents shall be repeated.

Case title - State Of U.P. (Gonda) v. Rama Kant Pandey And Others

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