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Bombay HC: Contempt power to protect rights of people, not Court’s dignity

2 min read

Greeva Garg –

Published on: August 22, 2021, at 10:50 IST

The High Court of Bombay at Goa has declined to punish a man who allegedly used social media platform to make allegations against the Indian Judiciary.

A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Sonak, while hearing a petition stated that the shoulders of its institution are broad enough to shrug off such scurrilous allegations upon Judiciary.

The petition was filed by Kashinath Shetye alleging that David Clever, based in UK, committed by making false allegations against some judicial officers of the district judiciary, and uploading the content on YouTube and WhatsApp.

The bench held that, “The dignity and authority of its judicial institutions are neither dependent on the opinions allegedly expressed by David Clever, nor can the dignity of our institution and its officers be tarnished by such stray slights or irresponsible content.”

“Such content, allegedly uploaded by David Clever, is best treated with contempt, rather than in contempt, particularly since he has neither bothered to cite any specific instances nor bothered to lodge any complaints backed by even prima facie, credible material,” said the High Court.

“The inquiries made on our administrative side revealed the irresponsibility of the comments and the possible use of the uploader as a front by some disgruntled litigants. To take this matter any further might only serve to feed the publicity craze of those that have uploaded this content to provoke, rather than out of some concern to bring to the fore some genuine grievance concerning the administration of justice in Goa,” bench added.