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SC rescues woman ADJ, stays contempt proceedings in Delhi HC

SC rescues woman ADJ, stays contempt proceedings in Delhi HC
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday came to the rescue of a senior woman judicial officer of Delhi by staying a High Court order initiating criminal contempt and departmental enquiry against her.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice D Y Chandrachud called Additional District Judge Kamini Lau and asked her to tender an unconditional apology in the Delhi High Court, saying it "wanted to protect" her for future as well.
A division bench of the Delhi High Court, on December 22 last year, had ordered initiation of contempt and enquiry proceedings against Lau after taking note of her alleged objectionable words used in four applications seeking expunction of adverse remarks passed by a single judge bench of the High Court in as many civil appeals.
Lau, in her appeal, had said that the higher courts "should judge the judgements and not the judge".
At the outset, the CJI said he wanted to protect the judge and even asked senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for Lau, not to argue.
He then called the ADJ for an interaction saying he used to be the Chief Justice of the High Court and knew the judicial officers there more than anybody else.
Lau said had the harsh words she had used been pointed out during the proceedings before the High Court, she would have straightaway taken them back.
"I had no intention whatsoever to undermine the majesty of law and the words used were unintentional," she said, adding that she would file the affidavit tendering unconditional apology in the High Court as asked by the top court.
"It is in your interest, we are asking you to file this affidavit in the High Court. We are going to protect your in interest in this regard," the bench said.
Earlier in the day, Justice A M Khanwilkar, who was part of the three-judge bench, recused himself from hearing the appeal of Lau.
A single bench of the High Court had set aside the judgements passed by Lau as Additional District Judge of Tis Hazari in four civil cases and made some adverse remarks.
The ADJ had filed intra-court appeals before a division bench seeking expunction of adverse remarks on various grounds.
The larger HC bench took strong note of certain words used in the appeals and prima facie made an opinion that they had scandalised the court and the proceedings and had ordered initiation of criminal contempt and departmental proceedings against her. The apex court on Monday stayed the proceedings and asked the ADJ to tender an unconditional apology in the High Court.
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