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‘Rising trend to scandalize the courts’: SC issues contempt notices

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued contempt notice, including to two lawyers, for allegedly attributing motive to a judge from the Madhya Pradesh High Court in a case connected with the lease of fishing rights.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S. Oka orally observed there is a trend to scandalise the court and this trend is rising. It emphasised that attributing motive to a judge cannot be allowed and pointed out that a judge is not infallible and may have passed a wrong order, which could be set aside later by a superior court.

The bench orally told counsel, representing the petitioner, that motive has been attributed to the high court’s Chief Justice for an order, which may be correct or incorrect. As counsel submitted that he would amend the petition and added that it is a legal mistake on his part, the bench replied that because of counsel’s adventure, the litigant suffers. Counsel requested the court to take a lenient view in the matter.

The bench then said an advocate-on-record (AoR) is not for just putting his signature on the petition and added “at the moment, we have issued notice of contempt”. It asked counsel to file his affidavit saying that the contempt notice has been issued by the court.

The top court issued notice to the AoR and the counsel who drew the plea on behalf of the petitioner, asking the lawyers to explain why they should not be proceeded against with contempt for their endeavour to allegedly scandalise the court.

The top court said the opinion of a judge is his view and judges can also make mistakes. After hearing arguments, the top court scheduled the matter for further hearing in December.

The apex court made these observations while hearing a plea against the order passed by a Madhya Pradesh High Court division bench in August.