February 18, 2024
Bombay HC Initiates Contempt Proceedings Against Advocates for Fabricated News Report
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Bombay HC Initiates Contempt Proceedings Against Advocates for Fabricated News Report

Bombay HC Initiates Contempt Proceedings Against Advocates for Fabricated News Report

Bombay HC Initiates Contempt Proceedings Against Advocates for Fabricated News Report

The Bombay High Court has taken suo motu contempt proceedings against three advocates for submitting a fabricated news report that cast aspersions on a high court judge. The court noted that such a deliberate and contemptuous act impairs the administration of justice and lowers the dignity of the court. The advocates, in their application, relied on a false news clipping, alleging that the judge hearing the petition had a personal relationship with the petitioner, creating a basis for quashing the case.

Background:

  • The application was submitted by Bhisham Pahuja, an advocate, in a petition filed by Amar Mulchandani, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case.
  • The lawyers, Zoheb Merchant and Minal Chandnani, presented the fabricated news clipping, suggesting the judge’s bias in favor of Mulchandani and sought the transfer of the case to another bench.
  • An inquiry initiated by the police revealed that the news report was false and fabricated.

Court’s Response:

  • The court refused to accept the apology of the three lawyers, emphasizing that a lawyer cannot commit any act that maligns a judge or brings disrepute to the institution.
  • The court stated that the act was not just an attack on the dignity of an individual judge but an assault on the authority of the institution and the majesty of the law.
  • Holding that the lawyers made scandalous imputations against the judge with a motive to seek recusal, the court directed the high court’s registry department to issue notices to the advocates to show cause why action under the Contempt of Courts Act should not be taken against them.

This case underscores the court’s commitment to upholding the dignity of the judiciary and preventing any interference in the administration of justice.

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