Bar Association boycotts senior judge for ‘insulting’ advocate

The Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association is up in arms against Justice Uma Nath Singh,following a complaint filed by an advocate alleging he was “insulted in open court” by the judge.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published:February 20, 2009 1:33 am

The Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association is up in arms against Justice Uma Nath Singh,following a complaint filed by an advocate alleging he was “insulted in open court” by the judge. The issue sparked off last month when Advocate M K Tiwari and Justice Uma Nath Singh were involved in a verbal altercation.

The Bar today passed a resolution in its Full House,asking for the transfer of Justice Singh from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Bar has also decided to boycott his court until the transfer demand is not met.

It all began on January 20 when a case pertaining to non-payment of wages to a UT employee came up for hearing in the court of Justice Singh. The division bench,headed by him,took strong note of the “objectionable” language used by advocate Tiwari against few High Court judges in the petition filed by him. The judge warned Tiwari that he was committing contempt of court by using such objectionable language against judges and had posted the hearing for today.

Feeling ‘insulted’ after the judge’s remarks,advocate Tiwari made a written a complaint to the President of the Bar Rupinder S Khosla on February 18. Khosla,thereafter,brought the issue to the notice of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur.

“When the case came up for hearing,the judge asked me if I had lodged a complaint. Irked over this,he warned of issuing contempt notices to me and the President of the Bar for interfering with judicial functioning. He also said the order will be faxed to the Chief Justice of India by noon,” alleged advocate Tiwari on Thursday.

In a strong reaction,the President of the Bar along with few advocates rushed to the Court of Chief Justice and demanded that Justice Singh be transferred. “I told the Chief Justice that Justice Singh is misbehaving with the advocates and we will not tolerate it,” said Khosla. He added,“We will not allow him to work here. He has to be transferred from this court. Am I not supposed to report to the Chief Justice if a Bar member feels insulted by the conduct of a judge?”

Soon,a large number of advocates gathered and decided to boycott the Court of Justice Singh following which an emergent Full House meeting was called by the Bar at 12:15 pm. Separate meetings between the Chief Justice,members of the Bar,a few senior judges and Justice Singh took place late in the evening. Though no final orders were passed by the Division Bench till late evening,the case in question has been referred to another Bench. No contempt notices have been issued to anyone.

The Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana has called for a meeting on Friday to decide on the future course of action. “We will decide tomorrow at 2 pm whether we need to call for a strike on Tuesday in Punjab,Haryana and Chandigarh,” said Advocate B K Goel,Chairman of the Bar Council.

The complaint note of advocate Tiwari
It is very painfully brought to your notice that while arguing my case before the division bench comprising Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice A N Jindal on January 20,an unfortunate situation was created in the court when Justice Uma Nath Singh in a high pitch and in an angry mood told me in a threatening posture to take action for contempt against me,on an application filed by the opposite counsel.
Justice Uma Nath Singh told me that he would get my licence cancelled and that he would see that I cannot practice in any court. He also asked me to sit back in the chair,as I was a sixth class student and told me not to utter a single word further for arguments,which were not yet concluded.
I felt too insulted and embarrassed. It is neither fair nor justified nor in the interest of justice to let the proceedings continue in this case in the court.
You are requested to intervene and ask the Judge to recuse and withdraw from the proceedings in the said matter.

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