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Judgment can be criticised but language must be sober, respectful, says Bombay High Court

The original petition filed by “common citizens” had alleged discrimination and differential treatment to litigants who wish to present and argue their matters in Marathi.

| Mumbai | Published: May 22, 2016 1:45 am

Strongly deprecating attempts by petitioners to implead Judges, the Bombay High Court said that if this much protection is not ensured to court or to Judges they cannot function fearlessly and independently.

“None can claim a freedom to mount an attack, and that too contemptuous, on a Judge while criticising or assailing his judgment. If this much protection to the Judge is not ensured or there is no safeguard against malicious personal allegations, no court or no Judge can function fearlessly and independently,” said a Bench of S C Dharmadhikari and Gautam Patel.

“The sanctity and purity of court proceedings lies in protection to Judges and presiding officers against personal attacks by litigants and lawyers. It is too well settled to require any reference to a judgment or a precedent that there is freedom to be critical of a judgment, but the language of such criticism must be sober and respectful,” observed the HC.

The original petition filed by “common citizens” had alleged discrimination and differential treatment to litigants who wish to present and argue their matters in Marathi.

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The petitioner raised a grievance that Marathi, being the language of the state, must be allowed during the stage of filing and arguments.
The matter was first placed before the Aurangabad Bench before being transferred to the Bombay High Court as it impleaded the Chief Justice, Registrar (Judicial) and other Justices of the court as parties.

The petitioners were seeking to recall several orders passed earlier and were not satisfied with the transfer of proceedings from the Bench at Aurangabad to the Principal Seat “The petitioners are aware that language of the High Court is not determined by the High Court, but in terms of Article 348 (Language to be used in the Supreme Court and in the High Courts and for Acts, Bills, etc) of the constitution by the Parliament,” said the Court adding it had given a very patient hearing to them despite the writ petition and arguments in Marathi.

“We find that this writ petition is nothing but an attempt of the petitioner to seek rehearing of all the pleas and proceedings in which they have been raised though all of them are disposed of by detailed orders earlier. Though the orders were sought to be reviewed by the petitioner, even those review petitions have been also disposed of. In the garb of a fresh petition, we cannot reopen concluded matters.

There is a limit to which this court can reconsider and rehearse disposed of cases on the grounds as are now raised above,” said Justice Dharmadhikari.

Stating that a litigant cannot implead Judges and the Bench sitting collectively or individually as respondents even if he is appearing in person and if he is unsuccessful in the initial round, the court added that “A party in person does not enjoy special privilege or a different treatment. He cannot dictate to court what orders and reliefs should be granted in his case.”

Reiterating their strong disapproval of the practice which appears to be prevailing in the Registry of the Aurangabad Bench of this court where the Registry there does not seem to think it necessary to object to the impleadment of Judges, the court added that a review lies against an order of Judge and review applications must be placed before him necessarily.

“Whether he is impleaded or not, the matter is bound to be placed before him if he/she is available,” said the HC.

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