Justice Belam Trivedi and gujarat HC
Justice Belam Trivedi and gujarat HC
Litigation News

"Nobody can directly or indirectly try to influence the Court": Mystery caller draws Gujarat HC Judge's ire, inquiry ordered

Justice Bela Trivedi is stated to have received a call from an unknown caller, who introduced himself as MLA Niranjan Patel. During the 45 second call, the caller mentioned a criminal case was listed before the Court

Meera Emmanuel

A routine bail hearing assumed importance touching on the independence of the judiciary on Monday after the Gujarat High Court Judge hearing the plea divulged that she had received a call on her mobile phone with enquiries regarding the case.

Justice Bela M Trivedi detailed the unprecedented incident in her June 22 order, which is stated to have taken place around 8.55 am that day.

As recorded in the order, Justice Trivedi received a call from an unknown caller, who introduced himself as Niranjan Patel, MLA, Petlad. When enquired why he was calling, the caller mentioned to the judge that a criminal case was listed before the Court that day.

The Judge states that the mention of a case immediately prompted her to cut short the caller, tell him that he cannot call the judge like this and disconnect the call.

Three calls made by the same unknown caller, one after the other were left unanswered. However, this led to a message being sent around 9 am, stating the details of the criminal case fixed for hearing that day.

Disturbed and furious over the calls, the judge requested the Registrar (IT) of the High Court to inquire into the mobile number of the unknown caller. On Truecaller, the number was found to have belonged to "Tosif Faiz Xerox”, on Vodafone connection.

During the hearing on Monday, the lawyer appearing for the bail applicant in the particular case mentioned told the Court that his client had no connection with "Mr Niranjan Patel."

Rather, Advocate Ashish M Dagli stated that Patel was interested in getting his client arrested, alleging that Patel had also approached the police to ensure his client's arrest.

The Judge proceeded to order further inquiry by the Registrar (IT) into the caller's details, observing that,

"Since, nobody can directly or indirectly try to approach the Court or to influence the Court, in a way try to pollute the stream of justice, it is necessary to obtain the details of the call."
Gujarat High Court

When the matter was taken up today, the Court was informed that the number had been ported to a Jio service and that the given name of the subscribed was Tofikbhai Vhora, son of Salimbhai Vhora.

Appearing for the bail applicant whose case was mentioned by the caller, Advocate Dagli told the Court that his client does not know of any such person either.

On its part, the Court observed that the identity of the caller had to be discerned before contempt proceedings can be initiated.

"It is needless to say that any person doing any act whatsoever which prejudices or interferes or tends to inferfere with, due course of any judicial proceeding or interferes or tends to interferes with the administration of justice in any manner, would be said to have committed a “criminal contempt” within the meaning of Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act. However, before forming any prima facie opinion in that regard, it would be necessary to ascertain as to who infact was in custody of the mobile number ... and as to who infact had made the call and sent the messages in question. "

Therefore, the Court has directed a police inquiry into the same as well, with instructions to get statements from both MLA Niranjan Patel and Tofikbhai Vhora, whose details were shown against the ported Jio number.

The matter will be taken up again tomorrow. The Court also cautioned,

".... the matter shall be viewed very seriously if the concerned persons do not state the correct facts in their respective statements. "
Gujarat High Court

Read the Orders:

Gujarat HC order - June 22.pdf
Gujarat HC order- June 23.pdf
Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news