Bombay Bar Association v. Nilesh Ojha
In the High Court of Bombay
Criminal Contempt Petition No. 3 of 2017
Before Justice A.S. Oka and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai
Decided on February 22, 2017
Relevancy of the case: Whether criminal proceedings can be initiated under the Contempt of Courts Act for publishing a scandalous video about a sitting HC Judge?
Statutes & Provisions Involved
- Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Section 156(3), 190)
Relevant Facts of the Case
- Two videos were published by “Right Mirror” on YouTube on 14th February 2017 and the third one was published on 16th February 2017 on YouTube.
- A press note was published on website www.bvbja.com. The videos contain allegations of scandalous nature against the same learned Judge against whom allegations have been made in the videos which are a subject matter of the order dated 17th February 2017.
- Reliance is also placed on a video uploaded on YouTube on 31st January 2017 by “India Bureau Ojha NGO”. The said video contains contumacious allegations against another learned Judge of this Court.
Opinion of the Bench
- Judges are of the view that the said statements contain allegations of scurrilous nature against a sitting Judge of this Court which constitute criminal contempt.
- Such allegations interfere with the due course of legal proceedings. The issues directly concern the independence of the Judiciary. Considering the fact that the issues involved are of paramount importance to the judicial system, it will be appropriate if this petition is placed before a Larger Bench of three or more Judges.
- This is a fit case to issue a notice of Contempt against the said Respondents.
- An injunction order is passed against all the said videos on YouTube as well as all other pages where the contents of the videos are available.
- The State of Maharashtra and the Union of India shall make all possible efforts and render all possible assistance for effecting service of notice of this petition as well as service of the orders passed by this Court to all concerned Respondents.