Chief Justice Oka
Chief Justice Oka
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If you want to abuse any staff member, please abuse the Chief Justice: CJ Oka pulls up advocate for derogatory emails sent to HC staff

"This is happening day in and day out, lawyers don’t understand how difficult it is to work here", CJ Oka said, referring to the High Court working through the pandemic.

Rintu Mariam Biju

Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court Abhay S Oka today pulled up an advocate for repeatedly sending emails and making calls to the High Court staff in an abusive and disrespectful manner.

The genesis of issue can be traced back to when the advocate addressed several emails to the Registry, requesting it to post his case for video conference hearing. Subsequently, the advocate called up the Registrar (Judicial) and went on to speak in a derogatory tone.

Pursuant to this, the advocate addressed an email to the Public Relations Officer (PRO) as well as to the Personal Secretary (PS) to the Chief Justice with a subject line titled “HC authorities not going through the email and not replying properly”.

After reading the entire email during the video conference hearing, CJ Oka said,

"I am telling you only one thing, if anything goes wrong in the High Court, I as the Chief Justice, am responsible. So if you want to abuse any member of staff, then please abuse the Chief Justice and not the staff. It is my duty to protect the staff. I am sitting here, please abuse me now.”

Chief Justice Abhay Oka

At this point, the advocate began apologizing to the Court. He said

“I have no complaint against the authority, High Court or Chief Justice. I am sorry milords. I seek an apology.”

In response, Justice Oka said,

“Mr (x)...please behave in a dignified manner. Today, we have also rejected your memo as it is not in consonance with the Standard Operating Procedure.”

The Court also said that if the advocate has any grievances against the Chief Justice of the High Court, then he should approach the Chief Justice of India.

"If you have any grievance against the Chief Justice, don’t address it to the Secretary of the Chief Justice, address it to the Chief Justice of India. Secondly, any grievance you have should be addressed in a dignified manner, consistent with the dignity of the profession of law. Thirdly, all correspondences, address it as an officer of court and not the mouthpiece of your client, this is what the Supreme Court says, we are not saying it.”

CJ Oka further commented,

"I would not have called you if not for yesterday’s email sent to the Registrar. Do you even know that the Registrar (Judicial) is a District Judge?”

The Chief Justice went on to state,

“First, find out where you are going wrong and then start blaming others. This is happening day in and day out, lawyers don’t understand how difficult it is to work here. Please tell us in which institution in Bangalore more than 100 staff have tested positive, still the institution is working? After so many cases were detected this week, we have started 12 physical hearing benches.

Later, Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi said,

“Lordships need not be perturbed. Normally it does not happen, isolated cases like these, your Lordships may kindly ignore.”

Responding to this, CJ Oka said,

“I am not perturbed but a signal has to be given to the members of the Bar. The reason is, so long as they are criticizing me, I am not bothered. But If they start making abusive calls to the staff members…This is confined to few selected members of the Bar, generally there is no difficulty at all. But then if the matter goes to this extent that you sent an email to the Secretary complaining about the Chief Justice, saying that you send a reply immediately, it is an institutional issue.”

CJ Oka closed the matter by quoting a Marathi that roughly translates to “if you want to criticize the daughter-in-law, you should criticize the daughter".

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news