Contempt of court: Delhi High Court sentences lawyer to 6 months in jail for baseless allegations against judges

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sentenced an advocate to six months of simple imprisonment for criminal contempt of court after he made contemptuous allegations against the sitting judges of the High Court and the district judiciary [Court on its own motion v Virendra Singh Advocate].

A Division Bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Shalinder Kaur observed that the contemnor Virendra Singh was given the opportunity to tender an unconditional apology but he refused to do the same and stood by the allegations he had made.

This shows that he has no repentance for his conduct, the Court said.

“Having considered the material placed on record, submissions of contemnor, this Court is of the opinion that contemnor has no repentance for his conduct and actions. Consequently, we hereby sentence him to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of 6 months with fine of ₹2,000/- and in default of payment of fine, he shall undergo simple imprisonment of 7 days. The contemnor is directed to be taken into custody by SI Prem (Naib Court), who along with SHO, Police Station Tilak Marg shall handover his custody to the Superintendent, Tihar Jail, Delhi,” the Court ordered.

It allowed Singh to visit his home to change his clothes, drop the vehicle parked in the High Court parking and bring his medicines so that they could be taken to the jail.

Singh had filed a criminal appeal which was listed for hearing before the single-judge on July 14, 2022.

In the plea, various allegations were made against several judges who were accused of acting arbitrarily, whimsically or in a biased manner. The judges were also named in the petition.

The single-judge asked the lawyer whether he would like to retract these allegations to which Singh replied in negative.

He said these are not contemptuous allegations but statements of fact.

The single-judge also noted that the allegations were not made by the victim appellant herself but on the advise of the counsel (Virendra Singh).

The single-judge, therefore, issued contempt notice to Singh and directed the matter to be posted before the Division Bench holding contempt roster, subject to the orders of the Chief Justice.

The Division Bench then heard Singh at length and refused to accept the argument that the allegations made by Singh have been mentioned to give the “entire background so as to establish the injustice suffered by the victim leading to acquittal of the accused persons.”

“It is manifest from the above that the contemnor/respondent has made contumacious allegations in the appeal making scandalous, unwarranted and baseless imputations against the learned Judges of this Court as well as District Courts who have been discharging their judicial function. Moreover, being an Officer of this Court making such averments in the judicial pleading are more serious in nature. It is incumbent upon the Courts of justice to check such actions with a firm hand which otherwise will have pernicious consequences,” the Court held.

It, therefore, sentenced Singh to imprisonment for six months.

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