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The judgment emphasized that advocates have a dual role as officers of the court and agents of their clients, making it their duty to uphold the administration of justice
The Madhya Pradesh High Court in a judgment delivered on October 25, 2023, has found advocate Manoj Kumar Shrivastava guilty of contempt for his false complaints and reckless allegations against judges. The court had initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against Shrivastava after receiving a series of complaints and letters containing derogatory language directed at judges.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Vishal Mishra has ruled that the language used in Shrivastava's complaints constituted an attempt to scandalize and lower the authority of the court, thus violating Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.
Shrivastava's complaints contained serious allegations, including accusations of partiality, corruption, bias, and improper motives against judges. Such allegations were found to undermine the court's dignity and authority, and as a result, the court held Shrivastava in contempt.
High Court cited the 1974 case of Baradakanta Mishra vs. High Court of Orissa, emphasizing that deliberate attempts to scandalize the court or its judges raise larger issues concerning judicial independence and public confidence in the justice system.
The judgment emphasizes that advocates have a dual role as officers of the court and agents of their clients, making it their duty to uphold the administration of justice. As such, they must be mindful of the language used in their applications and must conduct proceedings with respect and caution.
Although Shrivastava had filed applications to make the judges parties to the contempt proceedings, the court rejected these applications, stating that such requests are not feasible in a criminal contempt case.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court's ruling in this contempt case serves as a precedent for the legal profession's conduct and underscores the importance of safeguarding the judiciary's reputation against unwarranted attacks on its independence.
Case Title: In Reference vs. Manoj Kumar Shrivastava
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