The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh recently observed that advocates are officers of the court and deserve the same respect and dignity as judges [Latief Ahmad Rather and Ors vs Shafeeqa Bhat].
Justice Sanjay Dhar made the observation while expunging some sweeping remarks made by the Srinagar Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) that lawyers resort to levelling unfounded allegations against judicial officers for their personal convenience.
“The advocates are the officers of the Court and deserve the same respect and dignity as is being given to the Judicial Officers and Presiding Officers of the Courts. Bench and Bar are two wheels of the chariot of justice. Both are equal and no one is superior to the other. The members of the Bar, as such, deserve the utmost respect and dignity There may be some rotten apples in the profession, as is true of every profession, but to say that the advocates generally adopt these tactics is not the correct position,” the High Court said in its order.
Bench and Bar are two wheels of the chariot of justice. Both are equal and no one is superior to the other.
High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh
The Court was hearing a plea challenging the order of the Srinagar CJM declining a transfer application for a case under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, from the Court of trial Magistrate to any other court of competent jurisdiction.
In their plea, the petitioners submitted that the case registered against them was absolutely false and frivolous, and when they approached the court of trial Magistrate for modification of the order, it was not decided despite a number of requests having been made.
Counsel for the petitioners argued that the remarks of the Magistrate against lawyers were abusive in nature, which compelled them to approach the Srinagar CJM Srinagar to shift the case out of the Magistrate court hearing the matter to some other Magistrate.
The CJM rejected the prayers of the petitioners and while doing so, made certain disparaging and generalising remarks against the conduct of advocates.
The High Court decided to uphold the order of the CJM as it opined that merely because the Magistrate failed to dispose of the application of the petitioners or exchanged some hot words with their counsel, is not a ground to transfer the case.
However, it ordered that the remarks made by the CJM against the advocates be expunged. It also ordered the Magistrate to decide on the modification application within a period of 15 days.
Advocate Hazim Qureshi appeared for the petitioners.
Read Judgment here: