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After Unconditional Apology By Bar Associations, Karnataka High Court Drops Contempt Proceedings Over Strike Call

Mustafa Plumber
1 Aug 2021 9:34 AM GMT
After Unconditional Apology By Bar Associations, Karnataka High Court Drops Contempt Proceedings Over Strike Call
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A Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Suraj Govindraj accepted the unconditional apology of office bearers.

The Karnataka High Court recently dropped the suo-motu criminal contempt proceedings initiated against the office bearers of five different District Bar Associations. The suo-motu procedings were based on their open call to association members for abstaining from court work. A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Suraj Govindraj disposed of the proceedings against...

The Karnataka High Court recently dropped the suo-motu criminal contempt proceedings initiated against the office bearers of five different District Bar Associations. The suo-motu procedings were based on their open call to association members for abstaining from court work.

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Suraj Govindraj disposed of the proceedings against the office bearers of Bar Associations at Maddur, Mandya, Pandavpura, Malavalli and Krishnarajpete.

The bench accepted the unconditional apology and undertaking submitted by the office bearers. Following that, the division bench observed that,

"From the said affidavit it appears that the accused have realised their mistake and they have tendered an unconditional apology for abstaining from the Court work. The apology deserves to be accepted especially, in view of the undertaking given in paragraph 10 of the said affidavit by all the accused."

The statement made on oath by the office bearers read as follows:

"I submit that I shall abide by the Judgment of the Hon'ble Apex court in the matter of Ex-Captain Harish Uppal v. Union of India and Others reported in (2003) 2 SCC 45 and Krishnakant Tamrakar v. State of Madhya Pradesh reported in (2018) 17 SCC 27 and assure that there shall not be any boycott of courts henceforth."

The court said that in view of the apology and the undertaking, no further action under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 is warranted. Accordingly, the notice of contempt issued to the accused stood discharged and the criminal contempt petition was disposed of.

In its order issued in February, the court had said that,

"It must be noted here that in the wake of Covid-19, all courts were adversely affected which brought about suffering to the litigants as well as to the members of the Bar. Now that normalcy has been substantially restored, bar associations cannot take recourse to strike/boycott."

The bench while issuing the direction took into account the report submitted by the Registry which gave details of Bar Associations in different districts which gave a call to its members to abstain from court work.

As per the report, District Mandya Bar Association abstained from court work on January 4, 2021. The Bar Association at Maddur gave a call to abstain from court work on January 4 and February 6. The Bar Association at Srirangapatna, Malavalli, Krishnarajpete, abstained from court work on January 4. The Bar Association at Pandavapura, abstained from court work on 4, 15 and 30 January. The Bar Association at Davanagere abstained from work on January 29 and February 8.

Earlier, on account of these incidents,  Chief Justice Abhay Oka had made an appeal to the Members of the Bar Associations in the state to refrain from acceding to the boycott of Court proceedings and court work, irrespective of the genuineness of the cause. The Chief Justice also warned the concerned stakeholders not to indulge in such illegalities. The appeal read  that "I appeal to the members of the Bar to cooperate with the court for disposal of the maximum number of cases."

In his appeal, the Chief Justice also referred to judgement passed by the Supreme Court in the matter of Ex-Captain Harish Uppal v. Union of India and Others, reported in (2003) 2 SCC 45 and in the matter of Krishnakant Tamrakar vs. State of Madhya Pradesh, reported in (2018) 17 SCC 27. This was done in order to persuade the members of all the Bar  Associations from such boycott.

Proceedings against officer bearers of Bar Association at Davangere and Srirangapatna are still pending.

Click Here to Download the Order



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