The Orissa High Court on Tuesday sought explanation from the President of Tangi Lawyers Bars Association, Nakul Kumar Nayak on why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him for allegedly threatening a woman Judicial Magistrate after she rejected a bail petition argued by Nayak [Registrar (Judicial) v Nakul Kumar Nayak].
A division bench of Justices S Talapatra and SK Panigrahi recorded its shock at the actions of the lawyer who allegedly used filthy language and threatened to boycott the magistrate’s court.
“We are taken aback how a responsible office-bearer of the Bar Association could behave in the manner with a Judicial Magistrate, who was discharging her judicial duties,” the High Court observed.
According to a letter written by the Judicial Magistrate First Class Siona Siddharth Moharana, the lawyer along with almost seventy others obstructed her way inside court premises while she was exiting the building after concluding the day’s duties.
They allegedly asked how she dared to reject the bail petition and despite her attempts to pacify them, the group did not relent and continued to misbehave.
In her letter informing the District Court Registrar of the incident, she also stated that the court staff, police escorts, CASI staff and other outsiders were witness to this interaction.
She also stated that two months ago, the Tangi Bar Association had called for a strike on work and banged the main door of the court building after getting drunk at night. On being enquired by the magistrate’s staff, they abused them as well as the magistrate herself.
She, therefore, said that the lawyer had a propensity to call for the court’s boycott whenever an order went against his interest and an unhealthy atmosphere had been unleashed at the Tangi Court.
The High Court, on examining the letter, found that the lawyer’s conduct not only scandalised the magistrate, but also interfered with the course of judicial proceedings. It also obstructed the administration of justice, the bench said.
Therefore, cognizance was taken by the bench.
“Issue notice asking the Opp. Party as to why the charge for committing criminal contempt shall not be framed against him or why he shall not be prosecuted or tried for the said criminal contempt,” the order said.
Advocate General Ashok Kumar Parija and Government Advocate Jyoti Prakash Patnaik appeared for the High Court.