Court rebukes magistrate, lawyer for ‘ugly spat’
The Delhi high court has ticked off a metropolitan magistrate and a senior lawyer with 40 years of experience for entering into a ‘ugly spat’ with each other during a judicial proceeding. A bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Manmohan Singh, rebuked the two while dismissing the magisterial court’s reference to it to begin contempt of court proceeding against the senior lawyer. While dismissing the reference, the high court reprimanded advocate Randhir Jain, saying ‘it was his duty to have avoided an ugly spat with a judge, who works under tiring circumstances due to heavy workload. We apply the precautionary principles by counselling the counsel who has 40 years of experience at the bar that it was his duty to have avoided an ugly spat, if at all, with the judge, had the inexperienced judge provoked the counsel,’ the court said. Conceding that the metropolitan magistrate, generally ‘lacks experience’ but works ‘under tiring circumstances due to heavy workload,’ the bench said the judge too should have observed judicial restraint while dealing with the counsel. However, under work pressure a judge may be, judicial restraint has to be observed. We close the matter. The notice of contempt is discharged,’ the bench added. The lawyer had entered into spat with the judge during the hearing of a woman’s plea for maintenance. The magistrate in May 2010 had ordered the woman’s in-laws to pay the interim maintenance and on the in-laws’ failure to pay the same, she had ordered the attachment of their property, including those in the USA. It was this part of the order, which had triggered the spat between the counsel and the MM, prompting the letter to send a reference to the high court to begin contempt of court proceeding against the advocate.