Adv. Nilesh Ojha, Adv. Tanveer Nizam, Adv. Ishwarlal Agarwal, Anand Jondhale & other members of Indian Bar Association are going to represent the petitioner against Adv. Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
In similar cases many advocates are punished by the Supreme Court.
Earlier Justice C.S. Karnan, Sr. Adv. R.K. Anand, Bar Council of India’s Chairman Vinay Mishra, CBI director, Cabinet Minister Swaroop Singh Naik, IPS M.S. Ahlawat, State Chief Secretary Ashok Khot etc were sentenced under Contempt by the Supreme Court.
Petitioner demands withdrawal of Senior Counsel designation and lifetime ban on appearing in any court on Adv. Abhishek Manu Singhvi Indian Bar Association also sent a representation for taking action of Criminal Contempt against Adv. A. M. Singhvi, Adv. Arunava Ghosh and others who are involved in insulting, threatening and pressurizing the High Court Judges.
As per Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 the maximum punishment in such cases is six months imprisonment.
Gujarat High Court had withdrawn the designation of Senior Counsel of Adv. Yatin Oza and also sentenced him under contempt for making baseless allegations against High Court Registry.
Delhi High Court had sentenced Sr. Counsel R. K. Anand under contempt and withdrawn his designation as Sr. Counsel.
New Delhi: – A Contempt petition is filed in the Supreme Court against Mamta Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee and his Counsel A.M. Singhavi alongwith his A.O.R. Adv. Udayaditiya Banerjee for making baseless, derogatory and scandalous allegations against Calcutta High Court Judge Sh. Abhijit Gangopadhyay (Ganguly) in their SLP.
The background of the case is that on 13.04.2023 Justice Abhijit Ganguly had directed CBI to take action against Abhishek Banerjee said order was challenged by Banerjee mainly on three grounds: –
(i) Justice Abhijit Ganguly had last year on 19th September 2022 had given an interview to media and in that interview, he had made certain allegations against Abhishek Banerjee. Therefore, the order passed by Justice Ganguly is actuated with malafide intention and for extraneous reasons and therefore said order has to be set aside.
(ii) The order directing investigation by CBI was passed without hearing the accused i.e., Abhishek Banerjee
(iii) In every case matter should not be transferred to CBI for investigation. Local police given the opportunity to investigate first.
The Supreme Court Bench headed by CJI D.Y.Chandrachud & Justice P.S. Narasimha had not accepted the contention of malafides on the part of Justice Ganguly. But as a propriety had directed transfer of case to another Judge of the High Court. The order of transfer of case by CJI was also criticized by many jurists on the ground being without jurisdiction and against principles of natural justice and Audi alterum partem rule because it was passed without hearing Justice Ganguly. Supreme Court had laid down the law that such orders cannot be passed without orders cannot be passed without hearing the concerned Judge. [ ‘K’, A Judicial Officer, In re, (2001) 3 SCC 54, Amar Pal Singh v. State of U.P., (2012) 6 SCC 491]
Then on 13.05.2023 Mursalin A. Shaikh, Vice President of Indian Lawyers & Human Rights Activists Association (ILHRAA) had filed a Contempt Petition against Abhishek Banerjee, Adv. Abhishek Manu Singhavi & Adv. Udayaditya Banerjee
The Contempt petition is based on the scandalous pleadings of malafide intention against High Court Judge Ganguly in SLP Diary No.15883 of 2023
The law is very well settled by the Supreme Court that allegations of malafide intention against a Judge without any sound proof cannot be made in the petition. If such allegations are made then the petitioner, his advocate on record and even arguing counsel can be prosecuted under contempt. This action is independent of the merits of the case.
Recently Supreme Court in the case of Municipal Council Tikamgarh v. Matsya Udyog Sahkari Samiti, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1900 had issued show-cause notice to the petitioner, his advocate and arguing counsel Manohar Lal Sharma.
There are many such binding precedents of the Supreme Court about duty and responsibility of advocates and Sr. Counsels. [ E. S. Reddy vs. Chief
Secretary of A.P. (1987) 3 SCC 258, Heena Nikhil Dharia v. Kokilaben Kirtikumar Nayak, 2016 SCC OnLine Bom 9859, Sunita Pandey v. State of Uttarakhand, 2018 SCC OnLine Utt 933]
In Re Vinay Chandra Mishra (1995) 2 SCC 584, the Chairman of Bar Council was sentenced to three months imprisonment,
Recently Gujarat High Court had withdrawn the Senior Counsel designation of Adv. Yatin Oza for making baseless allegations against High Court Registry.
Earlier Delhi High Court had sentenced Senior Counsel R.K. Anand under Contempt and withdrawn his designation of Senior Counsel [2009 CRI. L. J. 677] and he was prohibited from appearing in court. Said judgement is upheld by the Supreme Court and show cause notice to enhance the sentence was issued to Adv. R.K. Anand [ R.K. Anand v. Delhi High Court, (2009) 8 SCC 106 ]
Later Supreme Court imposed a cost of Rs. 21 Lakhs upon Adv. R.K. Anand [R.K. Anand v. Delhi High Court, R.K. Anand v. Delhi High Court, (2013) 1 SCC 218].
That Delhi High Court in Court on its own motion v. State and Ors 2009 CRI. L. J. 677, had convicted Senior counsel R.K. Anand for creating false evidences and then stripped off his designation as Senior counsel. It is ruled as under;
“41. In these circumstances, we feel the adequate punishment would be to prohibit them from appearing before this Court and the Courts subordinate to it for a specified period and also to recommend to the Full Court that they should be stripped of their designation as Senior Advocates. In this context, we may refer to a decision of a Division Bench of this Court authored by one of us (Manmohan Sarin, J.), titled Court on its own Motion v. Rajiv Dawar, 2007 I AD (Delhi) 567 : (2007 Cri LJ 3114). In that case, the defence lawyer had assured the accused of his release on bail for a sum of Rs. 30,00,000/- having spoken to? the people, who would be responsible for his release on bail?. After being given a full opportunity of representing his case, he was found guilty of criminal contempt and substantially interfering with the administration of justice. In that case, the contemner had refunded Rs. 4,00,000/- as directed by the Bar Council and a plea was made to bring a quietus to the matter. This submission was rejected by the Bench holding;
To our mind, it is essential that aberration committed by those who are integral part of the administration of justice are sternly and firmly dealt with. Magnanimity and latitude should be available to those who are not knowledgeable or conversant with the system or commit the offence unwittingly or innocently. We may also observe that throughout these prolonged proceedings, despite several opportunities being available, there has not even been expression of any slightest remorse or regret on the part of respondent-contemner and he continues to maintain his high ground?
A fine of Rs. 2,000/- was imposed on the contemner. Further, in exercise of powers conferred by Art. 315 of the Constitution of India, he was debarred from appearing in this Court and the Courts subordinate to it for a period of two months while permitting him to discharge his professional duties in terms of consultation etc.
(i) In exercise of powers conferred by Art. 215 of the Constitution of India, Mr. R. K and Mr. I. U. Khan are prohibited from appearing in this Court or the Courts subordinate to it for a period of four months from today. However, they are free to discharge their professional duties in terms of consultation, advises, conferences, opinions etc.
(ii) Mr. R. K. and Mr. I. U. Khan, on account of their conduct, have forfeited the right to enjoy the honour conferred on them by this Court of being designated senior advocates. We recommend to the Full Court to strip them of their designation as such.
(iii) The Registrar General will put up our recommendation to Hon’ble the Chief Justice within a month for placing the matter before the Full Court for consideration and a decision be taken thereon.
(iv) Both Mr. R. K. Anand and Mr. I. U. Khan will each pay a fine of Rs. 2,000/- for committing criminal contempt of Court.
243. . Finally, we may place on record the fact that we have been ably assisted throughout by Mr. Arvind Nigam, Advocate, who had the unpleasant task of rendering assistance in a matter where senior advocates of the Bar were involved. He spared no effort in rendering able assistance and we found the same to be of a high caliber and quality. Mr. Nigam truly performed the task of an Amicus Curiae in ably assisting the Court in formulating the legal propositions and giving an objective and impartial assessment. We recommend the Hon’ble the Chief Justice to suo motu consider designating Mr. Arvind Nigam as a Senior Advocate of this Court.”
The prayers in the petition against Abhishek Manu Singhavi reads thus;
(a) Take cognizance of contempt & issue show cause notice to, Respondent No. 1 Shri. Abhishek Banerjee, Respondent No.2 Shri Uday Aditya Banerjee & Respondent No. 3 Shri. Abhishek Manu Singhvi;
(b) Try, convict and sentence them to the maximum punishment as per Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971;
(c) Pass appropriate direction under Article 129 r/w 142 of the Constitution thereby prohibiting Adv. Abhishek Manu Singhvi from appearing in any courts in India for lifetime;
(d) Direct Bar Council to conduct enquiry and take strict action against Adv. Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Adv. Shri Uday Aditya Banerjee as per Section 35 of Advocates Act;
(e) Take action of withdrawing designation of senior counsel given to Respondent No.3 Shri. Abhishek Manu Singhvi;
(f) Direct Bar Council of India to make regular programs, seminars and issue direction to all advocates to follow the rules of ethics and etiquettes as ruled by the Supreme Court & High Courts time and again and make a bar to the higher standards of noble profession;
(g) Not to place present petition before the Bench of which Hon’ble Chief Justice of India Shri. D.Y. Chandrachud is a member in view of grounds mentioned in the petition and in view of specific law laid down by the constitution Bench of this Hon’ble Court in the case of Gullapalli Nageshwar Rao Das Vs State of Andhra Pradesh (1960) 1 SCR 580, Davinder Pal Singh Bhulla (2011) 14 SCC 770.;
(h) Pass any other order which this Hon’ble Court deems fit & proper in the facts and circumstances of the case.;
You can download the copy of the Contempt Petition Here