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DRAT Requests Punjab & Haryana HC To Initiate Contempt Action Against Lawyer Who Filed Multiple 'Contemptuous Complaints' Against Presiding Officers

14 Sep 2021 6:59 AM GMT
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Punjab and Haryana High Court

The Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal, Delhi has directed its Registrar to request the Punjab and Haryana High Court, to take appropriate action under Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 against Advocate Harinder Pal Singh with regard to the "contemptuous" allegations made by him against the Presiding Officers of DRTs.

Advocate Singh had filed a complaint dated May 11, 2021 addressing the President of India, Prime Minister of India, Minister of Finance etc. against the Presiding Officer of DRTs 1 and 2, who was the Presiding Officer of DRT at Jaipur and had an additional charge of these two DRTs at Chandigarh, and one of the staff members posted in DRT–I, Chandigarh.

The instant complaint was forwarded by the Ministry of Finance with the direction to the Chairperson of DRAT, Delhi to look into the matter.

While the DRAT was hearing the complaint, Chandigarh DRT Bar Association moved an intervention application as it felt aggrieved by the order which restrained proxy counsels from appearing in DRTs

The said application also drew the Tribunal's attention to certain averments made in the complaint which according to it clearly amounted to 'criminal contempt'. The Association thus prayed for a a reference under Contempt of Courts Act,1971 to the Punjab & Haryana High Court.

The complainant had alleged that the Presiding Officers were working with a biased mind towards him.

"It is strange that the case involving crores of Public money are being adjourned by court master and Presiding officers for their vested interest", the complaint had alleged.

When a matter being argued by the complainant was adjourned in his absence, he had approached the Presiding Officer, DRT Jaipur who had apparently given him a vague reply that DRT Jaipur PO would revert only if a call came from DRT court master. "The corrupt practices of Presiding officer and his court master are shameful and disgraceful to their designation", the complaint stated.

Singh had further averred that,

"Infact all files taken up by this Presiding officer be checked. In some case he is granting stay on vague reasons and in similar cases with same facts, he is declining the same It shows that there is something fishy going in the cases being taken up by him",

After the intervention application was filed, Singh was asked to show-cause. His reply did not even deal with the allegations of corruption made by him against the Presiding Officer. He then stopped appearing in the matter.

"That showed that he accepted that he had made a false complaint against Presiding Officer and one of his staff members", held the Tribunal.
".... reckless allegations of corruption against the Presiding Officer of DRT 1 and 2 are per se contemptuous and scandalous, baseless and intended to tarnish the image of Presiding Officer particularly when the complainant has not even sought to justify the same. The allegations also amount to interference in administration of justice", it added.

Justice P.K. Bhasin, Chairperson, DRAT found that the Singh had been repeatedly filing complaints against Presiding Officers. It was further found that, later he used to withdraw the complaints on the ground that under some mistaken belief he filed them and that he would not repeat them again.

"He has, however, not refrained from tarnishing the image of this Presiding Officer of DRT-I and DRT-II, Chandigarh. This complaint is an attempt to brow-beat the Presiding Officer and that also amounts to contempt of Court", the tribunal further found.

Moreover, the Presiding Officer against whom the present complaint was made, succumbed to such attack on his reputation by requesting the Tribunal to transfer the cases of the complainant to some other DRT, noted the Tribunal.

This request was declined by the Chairperson, who directed the Presiding Officer to deal with such matters with an iron hand and not to yield to these brow-beating attacks.

In light of these observations, the DRAT has requested the P&H High court initiate action against the complainant.

"The Registrar will depute some staff member to go to Punjab and Haryana High Court for submitting the Reference.", states the Order.

Cause Title: Mr. Harinder Pal Singh, Advocate v. Ld. DRT-I, Chandigarh

Click Here to Download Order

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