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In a significant order, the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court recently imposed a fine of Rs. 50,000 on a medical practitioner for video recording court proceedings.
A Single Bench of Justice Ravindra V Ghuge was hearing a plea filed by one Gangabai Kappawar, who sought relief from the Court after being disqualified as Sarpanch. During the proceedings, while counsel for petitioner SS Thombre was making his arguments, the Sheristedar (court officer) was informed by the clerk that a person accompanying the husband of the petitioner was video recording the proceedings.
Consequently, the clerk confiscated the phone and produced it before the Court.
Justice Ghuge, along with advocate Thombre and advocate BM Dhanure appearing for the respondent, perused the video recording and confirmed that a person identified as Dr. Vikram Shridharrao Deshmukh had recorded the proceedings.
Dr. Deshmukh stated that he is a medical practitioner in Aurangabad and admitted that he recorded the proceedings on his Samsung phone. According to the address mentioned on his Aadhaar card, Dr. Deshmukh belongs to Nanded.
Subsequently, the Court called upon advocate Thombre to check with Dr. Deshmukh as to the quantum of punishment that he would want to undergo – either seven days in jail or fine of Rs. 1 lakh.
Justice Ghuge noted,
“He pleaded guilty, apologised and stated that he will deposit an amount of Rs. 50, 000 as fine in this court on or before September 25, 2019. I, therefore, direct that the amount of Rs. 50, 000 shall be deposited by Dr. Vikram Shridharrao Deshmukh in this court on or before September 25, 2019.”
The Court confiscated his Aadhaar card and his mobile phone, and directed the Registry to preserve them until further orders. The Court also directed the Registrar (Judicial) to download and preserve the video recorded by Dr. Deshmukh.
The Court further ruled that if the amount is not deposited by September 25, it would initiate contempt proceedings against him and pass an order for recovery of the amount.
However, Justice Ghuge noted that the conduct of Dr. Deshmukh, who is a friend of the husband of the petitioner, would not affect the legal rights of the petitioner. The election for the post of Sarpanch shall proceed and the result of the election will be subject to the outcome of the plea.
In view of the conduct of Dr. Deshmukh, the matter will be heard only after the amount is deposited in Court. The matter has been posted for further hearing on September 30.
Read the order: