Disparaging remarks and gesticulations towards the bench bring jail term for Advocate Khosla

Delhi High Court: The spree of alleged contemptuous actions by Advocate Deepak Khosla and the incessant recusal of judges in hearing his matter were finally brought to rest by a Division bench of Najmi Waziri J. and Ashutosh Kumar JJ., which ruled for one month imprisonment term and a penalty of Rs. 2000 for the respondent Advocate, found guilty of criminal contempt of the court.

Advocate Khosla while appearing in LPA 16/2012 referred the presiding bench as “Dedh Bench” in an attempt to deride the court. Having noted the remark, the bench observed that it would rule on the expression during the final disposal of the matter. Later, ruling on the matter a different bench of the court held him for contempt issuing him a show-cause notice as to why such proceedings shall not be initiated against him. Again, while ruling upon some other applications in a subsequent hearing of the matter, the respondent impudently remarked “beautiful orders” referring to the orders passed against him for contempt, asking the bench to recuse itself from hearing the suo motu contempt proceedings, to which the court responded by noting to include the impudent remark for consideration in the ongoing contempt proceedings. On a later date, the respondent objected to the proceedings demanding a different roster bench with full strength for the hearing by citing Volume V, Chapter 3, Part B Rule 2(1) of the High Court rules. The bench rejected the demand while explaining the inapplicability of the cited rule. Court also rejected a formal apology furthered by the respondent represented by Salman Khurshid around the culmination of the proceedings citing no remorse or element of contrition in him.

Observing that the non filing of reply by the respondent amounted to foreclosure of his right to defence amounting to admission of the charge and/or no defence or charge and that he had shown an incorrigible tendency to take-on the superior judiciary – in particular the judges of the Delhi High Court, the court heavily emphasized on dealing sternly with such matters while calling it a nefarious activity and convicting him for criminal contempt for imputing malicious conduct. However, the court refrained from prohibiting the contemnor from making appearances in the courts/tribunals in Delhi. [Court On Its Own Motion v. Deepak Khosla, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 1048 decided on 22/02/2016]

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