Contempt against woman lawyer for derogatory remarks : Supreme Court

The Supreme Court today initiated contempt proceedings against a woman lawyer for using “derogatory remarks against the court” despite warnings.

The top court said that despite being warned of her conduct, “she persisted and dared the court to take action against her”.

The heated arguments took place when a bench of Justices Adarsh Goel, U U Lalit and R F Nariman, which was hearing a service matter, was informed by senior advocate A K Sanghi, appearing for Union of India, that the matter will take some time.

The bench told advocate Nisha Priya Bhatia, appearing for the respondents, that the matter cannot be taken up today as composition of the bench was only for today and some part-heard matters had to be given preference.

Bhatia then raised her voice and used “derogatory remarks against the court”.

To this, Justice Nariman warned her saying she was crossing her limit.

But Bhatia persisted, kept shouting and dared the bench to take contempt action against her. She left the court shouting at the bench.

Justice Nariman said this was the second time before his bench that she had shouted.

“This is the second time she has done such a thing and this time we cannot allow her to get away like this,” the bench said.

“In our view, her conduct amounts to contempt in the face of the court. However, instead of straightway punishing her for contempt, we deem it appropriate to issue notice. Ordered accordingly,” the bench noted in its order along with the sequence of events.

It asked Bhatia to file a detailed affidavit explaining her conduct within two weeks from the date of receipt of notice.

The bench also recused from hearing the case as well as the contempt petition and directed that it be listed before any other bench as per the order of Chief Justice of India.

The bench appointed former attorney general Mukul Rohatgi and solicitor general Ranjit Kumar as amicus curiae to assist in the matter, saying they should tell the other bench what had happened in this court.

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