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HC takes suo motu cognisance of contempt by lawyers

HC takes suo motu cognisance of contempt by lawyers

The Madras High Court today took suo motu cognisance of contempt by two advocates for obstructing the course of justice by their acts, including making a district judge a respondent to a petition, and directed the Bar Council ofTamil Nadu to initiate disciplinary action against them.

“Prima facie material is available before this court against (advocates) Manikandan Vathan Chettiar and Mathan Kumar for initiating contempt action against them for interference with the course of justice and hence this court takes suo motu cognisance of the contempt committed by the two advocates,” Justice P N Prakash held.

This is the second time in the last one week that the court ordered disciplinary action against the two advocates.

On July 31, Justice Prakash had ordered the state Bar Council to initiate disciplinary action against them for making certain allegations against a public prosecutor in a criminal case.

Today’s orders were passed on a petition by one Lakshmi, who challenged the anticipatory bail given by the District Judge of Villupuram to an accused in a clash over usage of a pathway by her family and another after granting her the same relief and sought action against him (the District Judge).

She had made certain allegations against District Judge, Public Prosecutor and Police for granting anticipatory bail to the opposite party also and sought action against the judge.

Justice Prakash quashed the anticipatory bail granted to Lakshmi and directed the police to arrest her.

The Judge took suo motu cognisance of contempt by the two advocates under section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act,1971 for having made the district judge a party to the petition and having made “reckless and unsubstantiated” allegations against him and also for “intimidating” the officers of the Registry of the High Court and “preventing them from discharging their duties thereby obstructing the Course of Justice.”

Noticing that the vakkalat papers filed by the petitioner had not been signed by her advocate, the Judge sought an explanation from the Assistant Registrar (Criminal Section), who submitted that due to “heavy pressure” from the junior of Chettiar, he had to pass the petition on the date of submission itself without checking the signatures.

The officer further submitted that whenever any papers were submitted by Chettiar, the officers were threatened with dire consequences if they fail to pass the papers.

Justice Prakash also said Chettiar had written a letter to the Chief Justice not to post the cases related to him before him (the Judge) and the request was turned down.

When the counsel argued today before him that he should not hear the case, the Judge said he has taken an oath under the Constitution to deliver Justice without fear and favour and therefore, he will never rescue from hearing any case unless he had personal interest in it.

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