THE SUPREME Court on Thursday initiated contempt proceedings against a woman lawyer who “made derogatory remarks against the court” and “dared” it to take action against her.
A bench of Justices A K Goel, Fali Nariman and U U Lalit, which issued notice to lawyer Nisha Priya Bhatia, said “in our view, her conduct amounts to contempt in the face of the court”. But the bench “instead of straightway punishing her for contempt,” deemed it “appropriate to issue notice.”
The court asked her to file an affidavit “explaining her conduct within two weeks”.
The development occurred when the court took up a service matter for hearing. During the course of hearing, Advocate A K Sanghi appearing for the petitioner Union of India told the court that the matter will take some time.
The bench conveyed to Bhatia, who appeared for the respondents, “that the matter cannot be taken up today as composition of the Bench was only for today and some part-heard matters had to be given preference”. Bhatia protested and raised her voice.
The order noted that “Nisha Priya Bhatia made derogatory remarks against the court” and that “in spite of being warned that her remarks amount to contempt, she persisted and dared the court to take action against her”.
The bench also decided it will not hear the matter any more and directed that the contempt petition and the main matter be placed before the Chief Justice of India so that it is listed “before any other bench”.