SC Agrees To Hear ADJ’s Plea Against Delhi HC Judgment Holding Her In Criminal Contempt

SC Agrees To Hear ADJ’s Plea Against Delhi HC Judgment Holding Her In Criminal Contempt

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the Special Leave Petition (SLP) on behalf of Kamini Lau, ADJ, Delhi, arising out of the judgment dated December 22, 2017, of a division bench of the Delhi High Court holding the said judicial officer in criminal contempt.

The petitioner had moved four applications before the division bench of the high court, seeking expunction of certain remarks made by the single judge of the high court in the course of the hearing of the appeals preferred against the judgments rendered by the ADJ.

The present petitioner had sought the expunction of the observations by the single judge of the Delhi High Court to the effect that: (a) the finding of the ADJ regarding the non-applicability of Section 58(f) of the Transfer of Property Act of 1882 to Delhi was returned in a “casual” manner, (b) the judicial officer had acted in a harsh manner by closing the evidence of the plaintiff on the very first day of the hearing for recording the evidence on which the advocates were also on strike, and (c) the judicial officer had acted illegally in dismissing the suits for specific performance of agreements of sale on the ground that the agreements of sale were collusive and also that the suits were improperly valued having incorrectly linked the valuation for the purpose of pecuniary jurisdiction to the circle rates.

By virtue of these observations, the single judge had also required the judgments of the ADJ impugned before himself be placed before the Committee of Inspecting Judges of the ADJ.

The division bench of the high court had refused to expunge the aforesaid observations as well as the direction for reference to the inspecting judges, noting that the observations of the single judge were not in the nature of strictures or adverse personal remarks but absolutely judicial in character.

On account of the allegations by the ADJ in her applications that the single judge has violated the “norms of judicial propriety”, the division bench of the high court had directed initiation of proceedings for criminal contempt against the ADJ, in addition to an administrative enquiry.

The division bench had also required the applications filed by the ADJ to be placed before the concerned ACR committee.

On Monday, senior counsel Kapil Sibal submitted, “The High Court Single Judge wants a reference to the Committee of Inspecting Judges of the ADJ. He himself is the Inspecting Judge. How can this be done?”

The bench, agreeing to “take up the matter”, scheduled a hearing in respect thereof.