This article is written by – Himanshu Shukla, Student (IP University, Delhi)
In Lucknow, criminal proceedings were initiated for contempt of court against Ashok Pandey, a lawyer, for using abusive language against judges of the Allahabad High Court while arguing a case, and for calling them ‘gundas’.
In the bench of Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh, it was observed that Pandey’s conduct is prima facie contempt of court also he has done such acts of misbehavior in the past. Apart from initiating contempt proceedings, the Court also directed the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh to take appropriate disciplinary proceedings against Pandey.
The court also said in its order that the judges and lawyers must maintain the glory of law and maintain purity in the justice delivery system.
“It cannot be allowed to pollute the dignity of the judges by these disgruntled and publicity-seeking persons. We need to accuse Mr. Ashok Pandey of his past conduct and the contempt shown by him in the courtroom today. To protect the glory and dignity of this Court is prima facie contempt of court.”
The incident happened on August 18, when the matters were being mentioned before the bench. After this, Ashok Pandey stepped into the courtroom in a civil dress with a button-less shirt. When the court asked him why he was not dressed as a lawyer, he said that he had challenged the Bar Council’s rules prescribing the dress code of lawyers through a PIL and, therefore, would not wear a lawyer’s uniform. . He also said that he was appearing in person and hence, he didn’t need to wear the uniform of lawyers.
The court told him that if he was appearing in person, he should at least appear in ‘decent dress’. On this, he started questioning the court on ‘what is a decent dress’. The court asked him to button the shirt, which he did not do.
“……the atmosphere of the court was completely disturbed. He used abusive language, behaved indecently which is gross misconduct and he challenged the authority of the court. His conduct did not constitute a law. When he was warned that if he would not behave properly, the court would have no option but to remove him from the court, he challenged the court and said that if the court had the power, he would remove them from the court.” Describing the events of the day, it has been said in the order passed by the court.
Because of these, the court has ordered him to be kept in custody till 3 pm so that he can come to the court and express his remorse and unconditionally apologize to the court for his abusive behavior in court.”
The court then asked whether a respected member of the bar would be willing to take responsibility for Pandey’s future behavior in court, but no one came forward, the court said.
Accordingly, contempt proceedings were initiated against Pandey by the court.