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HC drops contempt proceedings against lawyers after they express remorse

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Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Thursday dropped contempt proceedings against certain lawyers for incidents that occurred during their protests against the shifting of service matters to Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) and registration work from civil to revenue courts in 2019.

On the report of the Registrar General about the impact of continuous strike on the court functioning, a writ petition in suo-moto was registered and taken up for consideration by a coordinate bench J&K High Court on December 11, 2019.

Notices were issued to certain advocates including Baldev Singh, Nitin Bakshi, Azhar-u-Zaman and Mohinder Singh Palli. The lawyers were asked to show cause as to why they should not be proceeded against for criminal contempt of the court.

They were also asked to show cause as to why they should not be proceeded against under Rules 10 and 11 of the Jammu & Kashmir Advocates (Regulation of Practice in the High Court and Subordinate Courts) Rules, 2003.

They were directed to file response within two weeks.

The noticed lawyers filed affidavits and the matter remained on board for last about three years.

During the proceedings of this matter, not only the noticed advocates but all the members of the Bar felt and expressed disappointment over the developments that took place during their protests against the decision of the Government of J&K, in connection with shifting of service matters to the CAT and registration work from civil courts to r courts.

Chief Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice M. A. Chowhdary while adjudicating the matter observed “it appears, from the assurances and submissions of the noticee advocates and senior and junior members of the Bar that they are not only remorseful to all that happened during their protests but they assure that such incidents shall not be allowed to happen again.”

The bench directed the advocates against whom the contempt proceedings were initiated “shall ensure adherence to their unique role in administration of justice as detailed out in several judicial pronouncements, taken note of in this order”.

It also sought from them “undertakings with reference to maintaining dignity, honor and respect of the court at all times and not causing any obstruction shall also form the basis for discharging of the rule”.

It held that the basis for dropping the proceedings has reference to submissions made by the senior Bar members and president of the Bar Association and learned Advocate General.

“We, thus, do not think it necessary to pursue this matter any further. We accept the oral and written undertakings of the respondents, i.e., advocates and discharge the notices of contempt issued against them. Accordingly, the Writ Petition bearing WP (C) PIL No. 46/2019 shall stand closed,” the bench directed.

It observed “the Bar and the Bench constitutes the two wheels of the carriage of justice. The success of the judicial process often depends on the services of the legal profession. The function of both the Bar and the Bench in an adversarial system of dispute resolution are clearly made out, and the need for a dynamic relationship of co-operation between the two is acute.”

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