In the second instance in a month of the Bombay High Court judge pulling up a lawyer for their conduct in court, Justice Girish S Kulkarni on Wednesday directed a lawyer not to appear in any matter before him in view of the advocate’s “incomprehensible” and “most arrogant” conduct in a batch of applications pertaining to an arbitration dispute. The court stopped short of initiating contempt proceedings against advocate Premlal Krishnan “considering his career”, following a written apology and undertaking not to repeat his “disrespectful conduct” in the future.
Last week, on April 19, observing that an “advocate as an officer of court is under obligation to maintain dignity of court and there is no licence to intimidate the court,” another judge, Justice Anuja Prabhudessai, had pulled up a lawyer for “grossly overstepping” limits of propriety by making allegations that the judge was giving priority to certain matters and certain lawyers and was acting in a biased manner.
On April 27, Justice Kulkarni, while hearing a batch of applications, noted that when proceedings were called out, advocate Krishnan, appearing for one of the applicants, conducted himself in a “most arrogant” manner and “not only threatened the court, but also made arrogant gestures by raising his voice, totally forgetting that he is an officer of the Court.”
“The conduct of the advocate in the open Court being extremely offensive and disrespectful certainly amounted to undermining and demoralizing the dignity and esteem of the Court. Such conduct is incomprehensible and least expected from an advocate of this Court,” the bench noted and said that it would be required to initiate proceedings against the lawyer under the Contempt of Courts Act.
While the court was about to pass appropriate orders, advocate Aseem Naphade, on behalf of Krishnan, intervened and sought pardon for his behaviour. Krishnan tendered an unconditional apology.
“It is most unfortunate that an advocate practicing in this Court would conduct himself in such manner, however, keeping in mind the personal and professional career of the lawyer and his oral apology and his request and an undertaking to place on record a written apology on affidavit, to the effect, that his such conduct would never be repeated in any Court, in my opinion, a chance is required to advocate Krishnan, to do so,” Justice Kulkarni noted.
Advocate Naphade then submitted an affidavit of advocate Krishnan tendering apology stating that he respects the majesty and dignity of the High Court and had no intention of disrespecting it and sought to “accept his sincere apology stating that the same would not be repeated”.
Justice Kulkarni accepted the apology and decided not to proceed to initiate contempt proceedings against the lawyer as proposed. He, however, directed advocate Krishnan against appearing before him in any matter in future.