Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Calcutta High Court: Dipankar Datta, J., issued a suo motu Rule for contempt against Advocate Bijoy Adhikari while holding his conduct in the Court to be abominable and finding it prima facie to be criminal contempt within the meaning of Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Court’s Act, 1971.

Advocate Adhikari had mentioned a writ petition seeking urgent hearing  on the ground that the petitioner’s bus would be put up for auction on 25-3-2020 by the respondent Bank and therefore they should be immediately restrained by an interim order. The Court noted that the bus was seized on 15-1-2020. While refusing the prayer for urgent hearing, the Court went on to state that:

the petitioner cannot, by his own conduct, create an urgent like situation during the present disturbing times and seek a hearing in the absence of the respondent much after seizure of the bus was effected.”

While the order was being dictated by Justice Datta presiding the Court singly, Advocate Adhikari obstructed the course of administration of justice by not only interfering repeatedly in the course of dictation but also first thumped the addressing table and then banged the microphone on it more than once. Advocate Adhikari was warned but instead of heeding to such warning, he was heard saying that Justice Datta’s future shall be doomed by him and for such purpose he cursed that Justice Datta be infected by corona virus.

Curtly, Justice Datta told Advocate Adhikari:

[N]either do I fear dooming of my future nor being infected by the virus; the majesty of the Court is what is paramount in my mind and to uphold that a rule for contempt could be issued against him.     

However, Advocate Adhikari seemed not to care and was found to be unrelentingly shouting at the top of his voice. The Court observed that Advocate Adhikari’s conduct was not behoving a member of the noble profession and thereby undermining the dignity and prestige of the Court.

In Court’s opinion, conduct of Advocate Adhikari, apart from being abominable, prima facie amounts to criminal contempt within the meaning of Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. It was accordingly ordered that a suo motu Rule for contempt against Advocate Adhikari be drawn up and served on him as early as possible. Advocate Adhikari was directed to answer to the Rule within a fortnight from the date of service thereof. The Rule is made returnable before the appropriate Division Bench having determination upon reopening of the Court after summer vacation. [Kalidas Datta v. Allahabad Bank, 2020 SCC OnLine Cal 687, decided on 23-3-2020]