Bar v. Bench at Allahabad High Court: Agarwal J pens scathing letter to Chief Justice
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Bar v. Bench at Allahabad High Court: Agarwal J pens scathing letter to Chief Justice

Chandan Goswami

The Allahabad High Court has been witnessing a tussle between the Bar and the Bench for the past few days. While the Bar alleges that the conduct of Justice Sudhir Agarwal has been inappropriate and insulting towards the lawyers, the judge feels the stance of the Bar to be contempt of Court.

Recently, lawyers went on strike as a mark of protest against the Bench, which they allege had passed adverse remarks against them.

The members of the Allahabad High Court Bar Association represented by their President Anil Tiwari had also requested Chief Justice DB Bhosale to intervene and restore convention.

Then on Friday, Justice Agarwal wrote a letter to the Chief Justice communicating his desire for taking appropriate action against the lawyers involved in the strike. Justice Agarwal, while narrating his experience, states that the conduct of the lawyers amounts to criminal contempt and is a “veiled threat to the Court” warranting necessary action to be taken against them.

He further stated that while no counsel attended the Court, the gallery outside was densely crowded with advocates who were creating disturbance and raising slogans which were not very clear.

The judge’s letter states that Tiwari had appeared in the courtroom and submitted that the advocates working on the criminal side were agitated because of the assignment given to the Bench headed by Justice Agarwal, and further advised him not to attend cases if advocates were not attending.

He said that the advocates represented by their President had also tried to pressurize him not to attend any cases and urged him to retire to his chamber.

“In a veiled manner, he advised me to retire to chamber, else maintaining peace and harmony in Court may be a problem.”

While observing that the action of the Bar amounts to criminal contempt and that it tenders a veiled threat to the Court, he stated that the failure to persuade him to retire to his chamber appeared to have hurt the ego of the President and the Secretary of the Bar Association.

 “The mere fact that they are office bearers and, therefore, were conveying sentiments of members of the Bar and not personally responsible, cannot protect them, since they are also party for the entire act and actual veiled threat, as I said above, has been tendered by them.”

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