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Advocate faces three weeks jail for alleging bias on part of judges

The Supreme Court pulled up an advocate, facing contempt case from Kerala High Court for alleging bias on part of the judges, saying “this institution is strong enough to withstand a thousand stones”.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Ashok Bhushan, while hearing a criminal appeal filed by advocate C K Mohanan against three months imprisonment and fine of Rs 1000 awarded for contempt of court, sought the Kerala High Court’s response.

“This institution is strong enough to withstand a thousand stones. But we will not allow a single stone to be thrown at it,” the bench said. Counsel for Mohanan claimed that the notice of contempt was “mala fide” as the procedure for its issuance was completely by-passed by the judges of the Kerala High Court. With regard to three months jail and Rs 1000 fine slapped by the High Court, the apex court bench said it was of the view that the time of three months was too less for him.

“You should go to jail for a longer time. Entire Bar Council of Kerala has disowned you for your behaviour,” the bench said and directed that Rs 1000 fine be paid in two weeks. On November 1, 2016, the Kerala High Court had said, “the Kerala High Court Bar is excellent and exemplary both erudite and polite almost to a point of perfection. Yet one lawyer has tried to hold the whole system to ransom.

“Our efforts to make the erring counsel see reason having failed, we have undertaken this unpleasant task of holding a member of the Bar guilty of contempt…”. The apex court also noted that during a hearing in the High Court on a case on October 24, 2016, at 12.55 pm when the matter was called for hearing, Mohanan claimed he had a sore throat and sought hearing at 3 pm the same day.

The manner in which he pleaded led the High Court bench then to initiate suo motu contempt proceedings against Mohanan for shouting in “loud, derisive voice”. “The counsel for the petitioner has been utterly contumacious in his conduct. He has hurled abuse at the court, apart from displaying utmost disrespect to the court…”, the High Court bench had noted in its order.