New Delhi, Jan 30, 2019 : The Supreme Court has observed that attributing political motives to a judgment amounts to “nothing less than an act of contempt of the gravest form”, The Print reported.
A two-judge bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran struck down the disciplinary rules that the Madras High Court had framed for lawyers but hit out at “members of the Bar” who go to the media “to criticise judges” and “attribute political colours to judgments”.
“Whenever any political matter comes to the court and is decided either way, political insinuations are attributed by unscrupulous persons/advocates,” the bench said in its judgment on 28 January.
“Such acts are nothing, but an act of denigrating the judiciary itself and destroys the faith of the common man which he reposes in the judicial system.”
The bench also hit out at judges who go public with their views. “Judges who are attacked are not supposed to go to press or media to ventilate their point of view,” it said.
The bench further said that “distorted versions of court proceedings” is sheer misconduct and contempt of court, adding that it has “become very common”.
“It is making it more difficult to render justice in a fair, impartial and fearless manner though the situation is demoralising that something has to be done by all concerned to revamp the image of Bar (sic),” the bench said.
The bench further said that “higher authorities” should be approached for grievances against judges.
“In case of genuine grievance against any judge, the appropriate process is to lodge a complaint to the concerned higher authorities who can take care of the situation and it is impermissible to malign the system itself by attributing political motives and by making false allegations against the judicial system and its functionaries,” the bench said.
‘Some lawyers think only they are champions of causes’
The bench also slammed ‘activist’ lawyers and called on the Bar to preserve its ‘ideals’.
“The hunger for cheap publicity is increasing which is not permitted by the noble ideals cherished by the great doyens of the Bar,” the court said.
The bench urged the Bar and its senior members to “rise to the occasion” and “remove the black sheep from the profession to preserve the rich ideals of Bar and on which it struggled for the values of freedom”.
“Contempt is a weapon like Brahmasatra to be used sparingly to remain effective,” the court said. “At the same time, a Judge has to guard the dignity of the Court and take action in contempt and in case of necessity to impose appropriate exemplary punishment too (sic).”
The two-judge Supreme Court bench made its observations while ruling on a plea challenging the Madras High Court rules for lawyers.
In 2016, the high court had framed rules pursuant to apex court directions in its 2009 judgement. Accordingly, on 20 May 2016, the 1961 Advocates Act was amended to reflect these new directions framed by a committee of judges.
According to the new disciplinary rules, advocates could be disbarred if they were found abusing/browbeating a judge, spreading unfounded allegations against a judge, and appearing drunk in court.
By the rules, high court judges, as well as judges from the subordinate judiciary, could initiate action against an erring advocate and even have him debarred.
The Supreme Court has struck down the rules.