Madras High Court on Friday ordered the Registry to initiate contempt proceedings against Supreme Court advocate R Krishnamoorthi for sharing a derogatory WhatsApp audio message against Justice M Dhandapani. The court noted that the lawyer’s actions fall under the scope of criminal contempt under Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act.
“The Court will not fall prey to such acts perpetrated by gossip mongers and unscrupulous elements, with a view to scuttle the judicial process and make the judiciary dance to their tunes,” Dhandapani noted.
In the audio, Advocate Krishnamoorthi has urged Justice Dhandapani to recuse from hearing a matter and also alleged him of being biased. He also stated that the judge was acting contrary to the interests of the advocates.
“The said Krishnamoorthy was a total stranger to the proceedings, yet he has made derogatory statements in the social media against my judicial functions, including seeking my recusal, which is nothing but interference with the administration of justice. If such an act is not nipped in the bud, it will send a wrong signal to the other persons to make scathing aspersions against the other Hon’ble Judges, which would impede the discharge of the judicial functions,” noted Justice Dhandapani.
Anticipatory Bail Denied to Advocate Tanuja Rajan
The order against advocate Krishnamoorthi came while Madras High Court was hearing the anticipatory bail plea of advocate Tanuja Rajan. The bench has denied anticipatory bail to Tanuja while granting bail to her daughter Preet Rajan.
A video of a woman advocate abusing police surfaced on the internet during the first week of June. Advocate Tanuja Rajan rushed to the spot when Chetpet traffic police stopped her daughter’s car for violating the Covid norms. The lady without the mask can be seen asking the police personnel to behave and also threatening to strip the officials off their uniforms.
Tanuja Rajan has been booked under Section 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease danger), Section 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant), Section 294 B (use of obscene language), Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), and Section 506(1) (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code.
Suo Moto Action against Lawyers Who Act to Demean Legal Fraternity
Madras High court in consultation with the Bar Council of India, has urged the Tamil Nadu Bar Council to evolve a proper mechanism to initiate suo moto proceedings against lawyers who act to demean and prejudice the legal fraternity.
However, advocate Haja Mohideen submitted that the mechanism already exists under Section 35 of Advocates’ Act, 1960.
‘I will not be deterred by such messages and I would not hesitate to act when things take an ugly turn,” Justice Dhandapani responded to the criticism he received on the internet.
Section 2(c) of Contempt of Court Act, 1971
Section 2 (c) — “Criminal contempt” means the publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which —
i) scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court; or
ii) prejudices or interferes or tends to interfere with, the due course of any judicial proceeding; or
iii) interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.