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Karnataka HC Launches Contempt Proceedings Against Advocate for Misconduct in Courtroom

Karnataka HC Launches Contempt Proceedings Against Advocate for Misconduct in Courtroom

The Karnataka High Court has taken the initiative to launch contempt proceedings on its own accord against an advocate who exhibited disruptive behavior by throwing files, raising his voice, and making derogatory remarks against the Court.

When prompted to present arguments on the merits of the case following an order related to an interlocutory application, an advocate resorted to throwing his files in the courtroom. This action was taken as the advocate intended to appeal against the aforementioned order.

In addition to raising his voice and speaking harshly before the Court, the advocate further exacerbated the situation by making derogatory remarks against the Court, expressing indifference to the potential consequences of his actions.

Despite the advocate's repeated instances of rude behavior, the Court chose to overlook his arrogance and allowed him to continue appearing before it. However, the Court observed that the advocate consistently prolonged the legal proceedings by submitting numerous applications, as evidenced by the order sheet.

A Single Bench of Justice KS Hemalekha observed, “The act and conduct of the advocate tends to undermine the dignity of the Court and hinders the due course of judicial proceedings or administration of justice. The cumulative acts of the advocate would amount to undermine the dignity and majesty of the Court apart from interference with the court’s normal proceedings and procedures.”

The underlying context of the proceedings stemmed from the petitioner's submission of an interlocutory application aimed at dismissing a caveat lodged by a company's General Manager (HR). The petitioner's contention was that the caveat was filed with the intention of granting power of attorney to an advocate for representation, without furnishing any supporting documentary evidence.

The Court dismissed the petitioner’s contention with a cost of Rs.10,000/. After the order was passed and when the advocate was requested to argue the matter on merits, “he threw the files aghastly, stating that he wanted to appeal against the order passed.”

Following the dismissal of the petitioner's contention, with a penalty of Rs. 10,000 imposed, the advocate, upon being requested to present arguments on the merits of the case, reacted by dramatically throwing the files, expressing his intention to appeal the court's decision. The Court expressed serious concern over the advocate's arrogance, noting his use of disrespectful language towards the Bench and his directive tone. Despite warnings from the Court to rectify his behavior, the advocate left the Court in a state of evident anger, throwing the files in a display of frustration.

The Court instructed the Registrar (Judicial) to undertake the requisite measures to begin suo motu criminal contempt proceedings against the petitioner's counsel, Sri M. Veerabhadraiah, in accordance with Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. Consequently, the High Court decided to adjourn the ongoing proceedings.

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