Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court punishes city lawyer for criminal contempt of court

Gursshheen Gahllen | Mar 2, 2017 20:51

In a case at Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court, Justice Varale and Justice Haq sentenced a lawyer to two months of imprisonment and Rs 2,000 fine.
Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court. (Picture Source: Wikimapia)

In the Suo Moto (court on its own motion) Vs Satish Mahadeorao Uke case, at the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court, Justice PB Varale and Justice ZA Haq, on March 1, 2016 sentenced the respondent Uke to two months of simple imprisonment with a fine of Rs 2,000. The court further stated that if Uke fails to pay the fine, he will be kept behind the bars for an additional 15 days.

Nation Next some days back told you about the first ever on camera open court session held at the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court. The bench headed by Justice Varale and Justice Haq in a decision on February 23, 2017 had issued a non-bailable warrant against Uke to secure his presence before the Court on February 27, 2017 at 10.30 am and stated that if Uke fails to remain present before the Court it will pass orders forfeiting the amount of security deposited by him with the Registry of the Court and will proceed with hearing of the Suo Motu Contempt petition No. 7/2016. In spite of the non-bailable warrant issued against him, Uke failed to appear in the court on February 27 and on a further hearing on February 28.

Advocate CJ Joveson, who had filed a vakalatnama on behalf of respondent Satish Uke earlier on February 22, 2017, on February 28, submitted that he is not authorized to argue the contempt petition on basis of merits and should assist Advocate Bijoy Krishna Adhikari. Both Justice Varale and Justice Haq rejected the Criminal Application No 12 of 2017, through which Uke sought leave to permit Advocate Bijoy Krishna Adhikari to further continue and argue the matter on his behalf without signing and filing of vakalatnama. Thereafter, Justice Varale and Justice Haq took a mutual decision of adjourning the matter to enable the contemnor (Uke) to make submissions on the point of punishment/sentence. Both the judges called upon Additional Public Prosecutor KS Joshi to assist them to examine the matter.

The bench noted that while delivering the judgment in Civil Revision Application No. 26/2016 on 6th of June, 2016, the learned single Judge Justice RK Deshpande found that “There is a definite, deliberate, motivated and calculated attempt on the part of the present respondent – Satish Mahadeorao Uke, which is discernible to bring down the image of judiciary in the estimation of the public or to impair the administration of justice or tend to bring the administration of justice into disrepute. The learned Single Judge recorded that there is definite act of browbeating the Court and if such attempt remains unsuccessful, to raise a false and concocted plea of recusal by the Judge hearing the matter.” Furthermore, Justice RK Deshpande framed draft charges against the respondent.

On basis of the charges and the previous conduct of the respondent, Advocate KS Joshi, submitted that the acts of the respondent – Satish Mahadeorao Uke as culled out in the judgment given in Civil Revision Application No. 26 of 2016 and the draft charges framed by the learned single Judge amounts to criminal contempt of Court.

As per the judgment passed by Justice Varale and Justice Haq on February 28, 2017, Satish Uke was held guilty of committing a criminal contempt of court. The court noted that after many opportunities from the court, Uke still remained absent during the proceedings and did not file any application explaining his absence, seeking exemption from personal appearance or adjournment.

In addition to the two months simple imprisonment and Rs 2,000 fine, the honorable judges fortified Rs 1, 00,000 apart from Rs 51,000 (which was forfeited for video recording) out of Rs 2, 00,000, which was deposited by Uke with the Registry of the court. The court also directed to forfeit the remaining amount as Uke continuously failed to appear during the hearings, on February 23, 27 and 28th.

The memory chips of video recordings were directed to be kept in a sealed cover signed by the Registrar and it was clarified well that the chips of video recording or the copies in any form shall not be given to anybody without prior permission of the Court. The sealed envelope should be kept in custody of Registrar (Administration) of this Court.