‘Rule of law’ cannot be administered if Courts are boycotted and prevented from functioning properly

Tripura High Court: Taking suo motu cognizance of the disturbances created by the respondent by not allowing the Additional and District Sessions Judge, Unakoti and his aides to enter the District Court premises, the Division Bench of Deepak Gupta, C.J., and S. Talapatra, J., berated the respondent for holding the Court at ransom and reiterated the stance of the Supreme Court in Communist Party of India (M) v. Bharat Kumar, (1998) 1 SCC 201, wherein it was held that the courts should not be subjected to strikes and boycotts. It was further observed that there can be no ‘rule of law’ if the Courts are prevented from functioning and are held at ransom. The Bench however deemed it fit to accept the apology rendered by the respondent for his actions stating that, the Courts should be magnanimous and lenient in dealing with contempt matters where the contemnor has accepted his mistake and apologized for it.

In the present case the Court took cognizance of the action of the respondent on the basis of the report furnished by the Sessions Judge of Unakoti Dictrict Court wherein it was stated that how a mob led by the respondent prevented the Sessions Judge and the Civil Judge (Jr. Division) from entering the Court premises. As per the report, the respondent even indulged in violence. Arguing on behalf of the respondent Shankar Kumar Deb contended that, the respondent reacted in the spur of the moment and had no intention of disrupting the business of the District Court. The counsel further put forth before the Court that the respondent regrets his actions.

Perusing the facts of the case and the apology rendered by the respondent, the Court stated that nobody has the right to prevent others from doing their work, especially when it comes to the courts. The Court further observed that the principle of ‘rule of law’ which is a ‘golden thread’ that runs through the Constitution, cannot be administered if the Courts are boycotted and prevented from functioning properly. The Bench chose not to take any stringent action against the respondent as he had already rendered an apology and accepted his mistake. However the Court warned that if in future such incidents are repeated then the Court shall respond sternly. [Court on its Own Motion v. Subrata Bhattacharjee, 2016 SCC OnLine Tri 262, decided on 14.03.2016]

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