New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday granted time to an advocate to file his reply to the December 19, 2022 show cause notice in a suo motu criminal contempt case initiated against him for misbehaving with a sitting HC judge and interrupting court proceedings.
A division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh was dealing with the case of advocate Shakti Chand Rana, who had interrupted court proceedings for 45 minutes while misbehaving, verbally attacking a sitting judge, and creating unruly scenes in the courtroom.
The court had initiated a suo moto contempt case against Rana for allegedly obstructing proceedings in the courtroom of Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh on December 14, 2022, resulting in the delaying of cases from 11.30 a.m. to 12.15 p.m.
“The said individual did not have any matter listed on today’s Board for hearing. Given the said fact, this court directed the said individual to remove himself from the lawyers’ bar and permit the court to continue with the hearing in the listed matters and allow the other learned lawyers to argue their cases, as per their listed matters. However, the said individual outrightly refused to remove himself and continued to shout, shriek and create an unruly scene, disrupting the Court proceedings,” Justice Singh’s order had said.
He had said that Rana’s conduct was unbecoming for a lawyer and further amounted to criminal contempt in the face of the court, which is punishable under section 14 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.
“Regrettably and alarmingly despite the ruckus being created by the said errant individual who was virtually holding the court to ransom, the security guards stationed right outside the door of the courtroom, were also hesitant to remove the said errant person because he was dressed in the robes of a lawyer and thus, unable to restore order in the courtroom, which further undermined the authority of the court in the perception of the public at large,” the order stated.
On Monday, the bench granted Rana two weeks’ time on the latter seeking a fortnight’s time to file his reply, and listed the matter for the next hearing on February 23.
Earlier, while issuing the show-cause notice to Rana, the court had ordered: “The suo moto contempt has been initiated pursuant to a direction issued by Ld single judge as recorded in the order dated 14-12-2022. Having perused the said order we find it incumbent to issue notice to Mr Shakti Chand Rana to show cause why proceedings for contempt be not initiated against him. The registry is directed to issue show cause notice by all permissible modes to be executed through the SHO of the concerned police station.”