A metropolitan magistrate posted at Patiala House Courts Complex has informed the Delhi High Court that he was “threatened” and “locked” inside his courtroom by a group of lawyers. The alleged incident took place when he was hearing a case filed by the daughter-in-law of one of the lawyers.
Metropolitan Magistrate Aashish Gupta has written to the Registrar General of Delhi HC alleging that members of the bar “prevented him” from holding the court on December 23 (when he was locked in a courtroom), and that close to “50-60 lawyers collected” and started creating “a ruckus” outside the court.
“I may bring on record to say that the act of the members of the bar in preventing me from holding of court and the manner in which they acted on December 21 (when the judge recorded the statement of the complainant) was extremely threatening and has shaken me to the core. I have not been allowed to hold the court due to ruckus created by members of the bar,” the letter to Delhi HC stated.
“I may go on to record to say that such an atmosphere of sloganeering and the manner in which the staff and the litigants were stopped from entering my court made it impossible for me to hold the court till about 12 pm as I felt threatened for my safety,” the communication to the HC added.
The incident took place when the court was hearing a matter related to an FIR being registered at Delhi Cantonment police station. The daughter-in-law of a lawyer had alleged that a man took her bag and threw it out of a car. The police had sought judicial custody of the accused.
“We only told the the judge that since he had recorded the statement of the accused, he cannot hear the matter as he is a witness in the case. However, he continued to hear the matter. We only boycotted the court on December 23. We have also written about the matter to the district judge,” said advocate Neeraj, secretary of the New Delhi Bar Association.
The judge alleged that during proceedings, the counsel for the accused refused to represent him, after which he ordered a legal aid to represent him. “At this moment, secretary NDBA raised his voice… I simply stated that legal aid must be given to the accused, in my opinion… The atmosphere in the court was extremely sensitive and members of the bar were getting aggressive… Even after passing the order, members of the bar continued to raise their voice… at that moment, I thought it appropriate to go to some other chamber before the situation got out of hand,” the judge informed the HC.
Judges of the Patiala House Courts Complex have also written to the District Judge Amar Nath, New Delhi district, to take action against “errant members of the bar”. “Such incidents…affect the safety, security and morale of judicial officers,” their letter stated.