The Supreme Court has issued notice to a petitioner and advocate who filed the petition on his behalf saying lawyers filing petitions on behalf of litigants would be liable for contempt of court proceedings if the plaint contained derogatory remarks against judges.
A bench of Justices BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna in an order passed on November 11 stated, “Issue notice, returnable on December 2, 2022, to the petitioner- Mohan Chandra P. as well as the Advocate on Record, Vipin Kumar Jai, as to why an action for contempt of the Court be not initiated against them. Both the above-named persons shall remain present in the Court on December 2, 2022.” The apex court said that observations made in the petition “are not only derogatory to the Karnataka High Court but highly contemptuous in nature.”
“The Constitution bench of this Court in the case has held that even a lawyer who subscribes his signatures to such derogatory and contemptuous averments is guilty for committing contempt of the Court,” it added.
As per the case, a notification was issued on August 7, 2018 by Karnataka Information Commission (IC) and Mohan Chandra had applied for the posts of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) as well as State Information Commissioner. The Selection Committee recommended three persons for the CIC as well as IC which did not include Chandra’s name.
Aggrieved by this, he filed an appeal against the selection process, appointment of CIC and IC and questioned his non-appointment to the advertised posts before the Karnataka High Court.
After a single judge bench of the High Court dismissed his petition on April 21, 2022 he filed an appeal against single judge bench order before a division bench of the High Court.
Division bench on September 2 dismissed his appeal and imposed a cost of Rs five lakh.
Challenging single judge and division bench order in the top court, the petitioner made insinuations against the judges and accused them of dismissing the plea for cheap publicity.
While assailing those orders before the apex court the petitioner in the appeal stated, “The reason assigned by the division bench of High Court of Karnataka for extraneous reason and to harass the respondents is unwarranted one and without any basis or foundation to justify the same. On the other hand, the division bench of the High Court of Karnataka has taken into consideration extraneous reason and as revenge imposed an exemplary cost of Rs 5 lakh to the petitioner.”
“Only to show favouritism towards the respondents and to harass the Petitioner and only to gain publicity, the division bench of High Court of Karnataka has imposed exemplary cost for ulterior purpose. This is not a public interest litigation filed by the appellant. The writ petition and writ appeal preferred by the appellant on personal capacity to enforce judgment of apex court of India and redressal of his grievance and not for any other purpose,” the appeal stated which the Supreme Court bench took note of.