Criminal Contempt by an Advocate by misbehavior with Judicial Officer.

Criminal Contempt:

The High Court found the contemnor along with 2-3 junior advocates entered the chamber of the CJM and misbehaved as well as attempted to assault him.

An advocate is duty bound to act as per the higher status conferred upon him as an officer of the court. He plays a vital role in preservation of society and justice delivery system. Advocate has no business to threaten a Judge or hurl abuses for judicial order which he has passed. In case of complaint of the Judge, it was open to the advocate to approach concerned higher authorities but there is no licence to any member of the Bar to indulge in 5 such undignified conduct to lower down the dignity of the Court. Such attempts deserve to be nipped at the earliest as there is no room to such attack by a member of noble profession.

The role of a lawyer is indispensable in the justice delivery system. He has to follow the professional ethics and also to maintain high standards. He has to assist the court and also defend the interest of his client. He has to give due regard to his opponent and also to his counsel. What may be proper to others in the society, may be improper for him to do as he belongs to an intellectual class of the society and as a member of the noble profession, the expectations from him are accordingly higher. Advocates are held in high esteem in the society. The dignity of court is in fact dignity of the system of which an advocate being officer of the court. The act of the advocate in the present case is not only improper but requires gross condemnation.

In the instant case the advocate has acted contrary to the obligations. He has set a bad example before others while destroying the dignity of the court and the Judge. The action has the effect of weakening of confidence of the people in courts. The judiciary is one of the main pillars of democracy and is essential to peaceful and orderly development of society. The Judge has to deliver justice in a fearless and impartial manner. He cannot be intimidated in any manner or insulted by hurling abuses. Judges are not fearful saints. They have to be fearless preachers so as to preserve the independence of the judiciary which is absolutely necessary for survival of democracy.

The act stated amounts to criminal contempt of court. The High Court has noted that the concerned advocate did not apologise and has maligned and scandalised the subordinate court. He has made bare denial and has not shown any remorse for his misconduct.

Sentence:

Considering the nature of misconduct, while upholding the conviction for criminal contempt, we modify the 11 sentence in the following manner :

1. The sentence of imprisonemnt of 6 months shall remain suspended for further period of 3 years subject to his maintaining good and proper conduct with a condition that he shall not enter the premises of the District Judgeship, Allahabad for a further period of three years in addition to what he has undergone already. The period shall commence from 1.7.2019 to 30.6.2022. In case of non violation of aforesaid condition the sentence after three years shall be remitted.

2. However, sentence of imprisonment may be activated by this Court in case it is found that there is breach of any condition made by the concerned advocate during the period of three years.

3. He shall deposit fine of Rs.2000 as imposed by the High Court. In case of failure to deposit fine he shall not enter the premises of District Judgeship for a period of three months.

(Source: Rakesh Tiwari, Advocate vs Alok Pandey, decided by SC on 10 May, 2019)

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