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[COVID-19] Calcutta HC: Advocate Cursed Judge With Coronavirus, Court initiates Contempt Charges

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A writ petition was placed in the Court for urgent hearing by Kalidas Datta on 23rd March 2020. The learned counsel for the petitioner, Mr Bijoy Adhikari claimed an urgent hearing on the grounds that the petitioner’s bus would be put up for auction on 25th March 2020 by the Respondents, i.e. the Assistant General Manager of Allahabad Bank and Others.

The bus was seized by the Respondent on the 15th of January after the petitioner had failed to discharge his debt. The learned counsel urged the Court to issue an interim order to restrain the Respondents from doing so.

Justice Dipankar Datta was presiding over the petition on 23rd March 2020. It was this day when the advocate cursed judge for coronavirus.

The Request for Urgent Hearing Rejected

The prayer for urgent hearing was refused by the Court as per the following reasons;

  1. The learned counsel of the Petitioner should have approached the learned Judge of the Writ Court, having the determination to hear Group IX matters.
  2. If the bus had been seized without taking recourse to law, the learned counsel could have asked the court to take up the writ petition for “consideration out of turn.”
  3. The petitioner cannot create an urgent situation in times of such crisis and seek a hearing in the absence of respondents especially when it has been quite a long time since the bus was seized.

Advocate Cursed Judge With Coronavirus, Court initiates Contempt Proceedings

The Court was continuously interrupted by the learned counsel for the petitioner while the Judge was dictating the order. His actions disrespected by the court as is recorded in the order. Justice Datta writes that

“Mr Adhikary obstructed the course 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. Mr Adhikary was warned to behave but instead of heeding such warning, he was heard to say that my future shall be doomed by him and for such purpose, he cursed that I be infected by the Coronavirus.”

After such disgraceful behaviour, the court warned the learned advocate that a rule of contempt could be issued against him. However, he refused to take heed of the warning and instead continued to shout and behave in a manner that was undermining to the dignity and prestige of the Court.

The Court submitted that the conduct of Mr Adhikary amounted to ‘criminal contempt’ within the meaning of Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Court’s Act, 1971*. Henceforth, a Suo Moto (on its own) rule of contempt was issued against Mr Adhikary. The order was dictated in his presence and was given an opportunity to answer to the rule within a fortnight. The Rule was made returnable before the appropriate Division Bench to take up the matter after the reopening of the Court.

Calcutta High Court, Advocate Cursed Judge With CoronavirusContempt Charges

Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Court’s Act holds that it can issue a rule of criminal contempt for the publication of any matter or the doing of any other act that

a) scandalizes or tends to scandalize, lowers or tends to lower the authority of the court;

b) prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with the due course of any judicial proceeding;

c) interferes, or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct the administration of justice in any other manner

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