The Punjab and Haryana High Court on 31st May sentenced an advocate to one-month imprisonment for criticizing a High Court Judge in a Facebook post. The Facebook post pertained to three personal cases which were decided against the lawyer, Mr. Manish Vaishisth. As per the order, his post had said that “the Judge deciding the cases against him had not uploaded the order for a number of days after pronouncement as he must not be knowing what was to be written in the judgment.”
“In case the punishment is not awarded to a person, who by his publication scandalizes and lowers the authority of not only the court but also of the judiciary in the eyes of general public which deserves to be punished in the exercise of powers under Contempt of Courts Act and under Article 215 of the Constitution, the faith of the general public in the judiciary will be shattered,” the judgment passed by the division bench of Justices M M S Bedi and Hari Pal Verma .
The division bench of Justices M M S Bedi and Hari Pal Verma. The bench said in its order that since the advocate concerned had a right to file an appeal in the Supreme Court, the order of sentence will not be implemented till July 2, when Supreme Court reopens after the summer vacation.
The advocate, Manish Vashishth, has been asked to surrender before Narnaul CJM on July 31. The issue stems from a Facebook post put up last year allegedly by Vashishth, who is also said to be a correspondent with a Hindi daily, regarding the judgment passed by a single bench in his personal cases against some BSNL employees, who he had alleged were involved in corruption.
The post was put up after the single-bench in August 2017 quashed all proceedings against the BSNL employees in another case initiated on the basis of the complaint by Vashisht. The division bench had asked Vashisht to provide his Facebook password but he had refused. He also denied having put up the post, which had been deleted later.
Stating that the general public and advocates have to maintain the dignity and authority of the court, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has sentenced an advocate from Narnaul to one-month imprisonment for writing against a High Court judge on Facebook after his personal cases were dismissed by the single-bench last year.