allahabad high court

Allahabad High Court: In a contempt proceeding arisen upon the reference made by the then Additional Principal Judge (‘APJ’), Family Court on a written complaint dated 09-05-2022, against the litigant and the other against his lawyer, the division bench of Saumitra Dayal Singh and Rajendra Kumar-IV, JJ. said that lawyers are free to choose their clients, but they should avoid taking up cases of blood relatives, as it may make them emotionally involved in the case. Further, it said that the apology rendered by the contemnors was not genuine, it refused to exercise jurisdiction in the present contempt proceedings and has not absolved the contemnors of their conduct.

The allegation against the litigant is of having misbehaved in the Court of the Additional Principal Judge, Family Court, while that Court was in the process of hearing another case.

After perusing the complaint, the Court noted that the litigant misbehaved inside the Court Hall and started shouting about his matter not being called out. When asked to wait, he refused and continued his unruly behavior. Despite being warned, he continued to misbehave. It is on that allegation of having obstructed the judicial proceedings that the criminal contempt has arisen against him.

The Court further noted that the Advocate is accused of having offered unruly and loud behaviour and of threatening the court by seeking transfer of proceedings. On being required to act in a civilized manner, he is described to have refused to abide by that advice given by the court and to have insisted on continuing to speak in the same manner. He further described shouting in a loud voice that he is a practitioner of the Allahabad High Court and that he knows how to deal with petty courts. He is also alleged to have threatened to lodge a complaint against the Presiding Officer. Despite repeated reprimand, he continued to use un-parliamentary language and continued to obstruct the judicial proceeding that were otherwise continuing.

The Court noted that on a query made to the contemnors, that if they were seeking forgiveness, they stated ‘Yes’. However, when questioned for what, they stated “Jo Humne kara nahi”.

The contemnors have explained and tried to convince the Court that they have utmost regard for the institution and its procedures and that consciously they have not committed any act as may amount to contempt. However, the Court said that as to apology, their stand, has been ridiculous, to say the least in face of the facts recorded on the order sheet by the APJ in the case record of the relevant case and in face of the in-disputable fact that the Advocate kept pressing for audience of the court during the post lunch session by filing at least two applications one marked by him, filed at 3:00 p.m. and other filed at 3:30 p.m. Thus, it cannot be disputed that he had continued to interject the proceeding before the court below for no justifiable cause.

The Court noted that the Court proceedings are formal proceedings which must be allowed to be conducted in a dignified manner without undue disruptions. Any grievance that any litigant or lawyer have may be addressed in due course. Any order that may be passed by a court to which any lawyer or litigant have a grievance may be addressed by filing an appropriate application or appeal or by making an appropriate mention at the appropriate time.

The Court remarked that it is catastrophic that a son (Advocate) appearing for his father (litigant) that too in a matrimonial case with his (Advocate’s) mother. It cannot be for Courts to advise lawyers to choose their clients. It has always been left to the wisdom of the members of the bar. The basic learning that any member of the bar imbibes at the initial years of practice is to not appear for blood relatives. However, this wisdom and nuance has not touched the present Advocate by a mile. He not only took up the matter of his father but that too against his mother thereby, by his act, he became a party to the dispute itself.

The Court said that they do not wish to waste even a further moment of work on such a litigant and lawyer and left it to them to introspect what conduct they may offer to Courts in future. However, it imposed a condition on the contemnors, that by way of explanation that may be called in such other proceeding, a copy of this order will be annexed by them to disclose to that Court their previous conduct. Thus, the Court refused to exercise jurisdiction and has not absolved the contemnors of their conduct.

Further, it found the conduct of the APJ, Family Court to be unblemished, and said that the officer had done all to ensure that the decorum of the court was maintained. Thus, the Court rejected the application under Section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (‘CrPC’) read with Section 195 CrPC as meritless and scandalous.

[In Re Shubham Kumar, Contempt Application (Criminal) No. 15 of 2022, Order dated 12-10-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Counsel for Applicant: Advocate Ashish Mishra

Counsel for Opposite Party: Advocate Ashok Kumar Upadhyay

Buy Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973  HERE

Code of Criminal Procedure

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