Orissa High Court Issues Contempt Notice to President of Tangi Bar Association for Threatening Female Judicial Officer

The Orissa High Court on Tuesday issued a notice of contempt against Nakul Kumar Nayak, president of Lawyers Bar in the town of Tangi, for threatening and using “foul language” against a judicial magistrate after the judge rejected his client’s request for bail.

A dividing bench of Judges S. Talapatra and Sanjeeb Kumar Panigrahi took careful note of the allegations and said he was “surprised” by how a responsible member of the bar could behave in the same way with a judicial magistrate carrying out his judicial duties.

“Issue notice asking the opposing party why the charge of criminal contempt will not be brought against him or why he will not be prosecuted or tried for said criminal contempt or why any other order/orders deemed appropriate in the interests of justice will not be served,” the court said.

The suo motu procedure was initiated by the court following a referral from the Chief Justice.

Previously, a letter had been written by Siona Siddharth Moharana, Nyayadhikari-cum-JMFC, who is stationed in Tangi town, Khurda district, alleging that Nayak last month, accompanied by “some non-practicing lawyers from the Tangi Bar Association and some foreigners comprising a total of 60 to 70 people in the courthouse” had arrested her and threatened her, saying “how dare you refuse the request for bail? »

Nayak also allegedly misbehaved with her in a threatening voice by questioning her experience and saying she was a newcomer when he was a seasoned professional. The bailiff had written to the clerk of the district court after the incident and said he had been threatened that his court would be boycotted for rejecting the bail request.

It has also been alleged that Nayak, even on earlier occasions, threatened her. “He tends to call for a court boycott whenever an order has gone against his interests. An unhealthy atmosphere has been unleashed in the Tangi court,” the high court said.

The division bench said:

“In our view, there are sufficient documents on file to take cognizance of criminal contempt by the opp Contempt of Courts Act 1971. His conduct not only outraged the judicial magistrate but also interfered with the proper course of court proceedings. Furthermore, it has tended to interfere with the process of administration of justice.”

The court said the notice is taken under section 15(2) of the Contempt of Courts Act 1971. Ordering that a copy of his order be provided to the Chairman of the Odisha State Bar Council and the State Solicitor General, the court the latter to assist him in the matter.

“The notice is made payable on 17.11.2022,” the court said.

Factual background

The Chief Justice had returned a case to the Divisional Bench on October 30. In the letter dated October 21, Moharana recounted Nayak’s conduct in detail.

The Court noted that the letter reveals that he abused the judicial magistrate by “coarse language” from outside his room and said “how dare the PO reject the bail request”.

Subsequently, around 5:20 p.m., as the Judicial Magistrate was heading towards her home, the opposing party physically obstructed her way outside the courthouse, but inside the court premises.

At that time, the letter reveals again, he was accompanied by a few “the non-practicing lawyers of the Tangi Bar Association and some foreigners comprising a total of 60 to 70 people in the premises of the Court”. They arrested her and threatened her saying “how dare you reject the bail request”.

According to the letter, the magistrate tried to appease him by saying that the defendant had a history of criminal activity and was entangled in two other matters.

“Therefore, she had denied the bail application. She further told them that she had given these reasons in her order rejecting the bail application of the defendant for whom the opposition party was appearing. She had further reminded the opposition party that if the defendant was aggrieved by her order, they had recourse to the superior courts. The opposition party and its companions did not give in and continued to conduct themselves. hurt with her in a threatening voice questioning her experience that she was a new entrant and he was a seasoned professional,” the court order reads.

She further mentioned that the whole incident happened in the presence of court staff, police escorts from two police stations and CASI staff and other outsiders. She also recounted a past incident stating:

“…even two months ago, when one of our D group staff, namely Susanta Kumar Sethi, was performing night watchman duties in the Court, because at that time, the Association of Tangi Bar had called for a stoppage of work and they remained at the Court premises until at very late hours, at that time around 11:45 p.m. midnight, my staff Susanta Kumar Sethi told me called and told me that the president of the bar was completely drunk and was knocking on the main door of the court building and that my staff had inquired about it, then he [had] abused him in highly unparliamentary and obscene languages ​​and even abused me in front of him on my behalf.”

Notably, this is not the first time that the bar members of the Tangi Bar Association have shown their unruly behavior. In September, a division bench of Judges S. Talapatra and Mruganka Sekhar Sahoo had order police escort of a lawyer who was prevented by said members of the bar from posting his client’s bonds.

Case title: Registrar (Judicial), Orissa High Court v. Nakul Kumar Nayak, President, Lawyers Bar Association, Tangi

Order dated: 1st November 2022

Koram: S. Talapatra and SK Panigrahi, JJ.

Click here to read/download the order

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