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Need To Maintain Dignity And Reputation Of Judicial Officers: Supreme Court

Need To Maintain Dignity And Reputation Of Judicial Officers: Supreme Court

NEW DELHI, Jan 31: There is a need to maintain the dignity and reputation of judicial officers and to protect them from motivated, libellous and unfounded allegations, the Supreme Court has said while convicting an advocate in a 2006 criminal contempt case.
A bench of justices Vikram Nath and Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha said the Delhi High Court was correct in rejecting the apology of the lawyer as it lacked sincerity and was belated and a mere ‘lip service’.
However, considering his age and medical ailments, it modified the sentence given to the lawyer by the High Court from imprisonment for three months to “till the rising of the court”.
While appearing in a matter for a client on August 17, 2006, advocate Gulshan Bajwa had allegedly threatened a lawyer before the HC bench. When notice was issued to him, he failed to appear. Bajwa then filed applications in the same matter, levelling allegations against the judges of the High Court.
“We are in complete agreement with the decision of the High Court on the need to maintain the dignity and reputation of judicial officers and to protect them from motivated, libellous and unfounded allegations,” the Supreme Court bench said in an order on Tuesday.
“We are also of the opinion that the High Court was correct in not accepting the apology tendered by the appellant since it was not bonafide and lacked in sincerity, apart from being belated and a mere ‘lip service’,” the bench said.
The top court said an apology must evidence remorse with respect to the contemptuous acts and is not to be used as a weapon to purge the guilty of their offence.
An apology lacking in sincerity and not evidencing contriteness cannot be accepted, it said.
The top court was hearing a plea filed by a Bajwa against the 2006 decision of the Delhi High Court which awarded him a three-month imprisonment for contempt of court.
The Supreme Court said the lawyer’s conduct before the High Court and even before the apex court, amounts to undermining the system of the law and interfering with the course of justice administration.
“The High Court observed a pattern in the behaviour of the appellant. He has had a habit of misbehaving with a Bench which is not agreeing with him.
“The misbehaviour goes to the extent of casting aspersions and threatening the Judges hearing the matters,” the bench said.
The top court the order of conviction against the appellant warrants no interference.
“However, considering the age of the appellant and taking note of his submission that he is suffering from certain medical ailments, we modify the sentence imposed by the High Court from imprisonment for three months till the rising of the court,” the bench said. (Agencies)

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