Strike no defence for obstructing court’s functions

Allahabad High Court:
Taking cognizance of the matter on a reference letter sent by ACJM Amit Kumar
Prajapati, the Court imposed a punishment of simple imprisonment and a fine of
Rs. 2000 each on the guilty advocates and also barred them from entering the
court of Sonbhadra for six months for abusing and misbehaving with the
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of Sonbhadra in 2013.

to the reference letter the ACJM was conducting judicial work, when the
contemnor advocates entered the courtroom and enquired as to how the court is
working when a strike call had been given by the advocates. When the ACJM told
them that the court could never be on strike and those wanting to work cannot
be forced to shun the same, the guilty advocates resorted to sloganeering, use
of abusive language thus obstructing the functioning of the court. A serious
charge was also levelled against the ACJM without any substantial justification
in respect of the judicial order passed by him in granting interim bail
ignoring the resolution passed by the body of advocates that the order was
passed in league and collusion with accused person.

High Court held that the suggestion that the advocates were on a strike cannot
be a justification for alleged misbehaviour. The Court relying on Supreme Court
rulings in Common Cause (A Registered Society) vs. Union of India and Others
(1995) 5 SCC5, Indian Council of Legal Aid and Advice vs. Bar Council
of India (1995) 1 SCC 732 among others held that a call, which
has the effect of paralysing judicial function ex facie, amounts to a direct
interference in the administration of justice and is a ‘criminal contempt’
under Section 2(c) of the Act, 1971. The Court further held that though it did
not intend to lay down any code of conduct for advocates but certainly do not
hesitate in observing that no advocate has any business to condemn a judge by
abusing etc. If there is any lacking on part of a judicial officer touching his
integrity, advocates may not remain silent spectator, but should come forward
in appropriate manner before the proper authority. But there cannot be a
license to raise finger over competency and integrity etc. of a judicial
officer, casually or negligently, or on other irrelevant grounds. [In re Sri
Mahendra Prasad Shukla Advocate, decided on 02.07.2015] 
Source: Legal news India

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