Kerala High Court directs Registry to preserve video recording of hearing on plea by lawyer facing contempt of court charges

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The Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed its registry to preserve the video recording of the court proceedings where a lawyer allegedly indulged in contemptuous conduct leading to the issuance of a contempt of court notice against him by the High Court [Yeshwanth Shenoy v The Bar Council of Kerala & Ors.].

Justice Shaji P Chaly passed the order on a plea moved by advocate Yeshwanth Shenoy who has been in the news of late since he is facing contempt of court proceedings for allegedly misbehaving in the court of single-judge Justice Mary Joseph.

Shenoy moved the High Court challenging a show cause notice issued to him by the Bar Council of Kerala (BCK).

He also alleged that documents are being leaked from the High Court Registry to some news agencies.

During the hearing today, Shenoy pressed the court for an order to the registry to ensure that it keeps a recording of the hearing before Justice Joseph on February 9.

“The truth cannot be erased,” Shenoy said.

Justice Chaly subsequently passed an order in that regard.

Last week, Shenoy had also moved a plea challenging the curtailment of the list of cases before Justice Mary Joseph, a sitting judge of the Court, to around 20 cases a day, when most judges have over 100 cases listed before them each day.

That plea sought a direction to the Registrar General of High Court to have a standard criterion for listing matters before various courts in accordance with the directions of the Chief Justice.

At around the same time, a division bench of the High Court issued notice to Shenoy after it initiated suo motu contempt of court proceedings against him. The reasons for initiating the proceedings was not mentioned in its order.

Several news portals reported on the events but Shenoy alleged that legal news agency LiveLaw published details of the suo motu contempt petition before it was served on Shenoy.

In the present plea, Shenoy argued that the fact that the contempt petition was seemingly leaked to the news agency before it was even served on him, is a serious issue that requires investigation.

The BCK had also sent Shenoy a show cause notice last month. While the BCK notice stated that the proceedings were initiated by it suo motu, Shenoy claimed in the present plea that it was on the basis of a letter that Justice Joseph had sent to the BCK making allegations against him of misbehaviour during a hearing before the single-judge.

The matter will be considered again after notices have been served on the respondents.

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