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DRT Judge Moves SC Against HC Direction to Not Pass Any Adverse Orders in Face of Bar Association Protest

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Supreme Court Law Insider

Savvy Thakur

Published on: November 9, 2022 at 21:16 IST

The Presiding Officer of DRT-II Chandigarh, who was prohibited by the Punjab and Haryana High Court from issuing any adverse orders in any of the cases that were pending before him, has filed a Special Leave Petition in opposition to the aforementioned order with the Supreme Court.

A division bench of Justices MS Ramachandra Rao and HS Madaan of the Punjab and Haryana High Court granted the DRT Bar Association’s request for the temporary restraint, which will remain in place until November 30.

The DRT Bar Association had claimed that the Presiding Officer harassed attorneys representing both borrowers and financial institutions, among other parties.

In addition, it brought before the court a presiding officer’s order remanding a case from 2021 to 2026 in which the respondent had become ex-parte.

It was alleged that he issued a number of such orders.

To enlist its dissent, the Bar had even gone on a strike from October 26 and the insight were not showing up before the concerned Directing Official.

Through the SLP, the in question Presiding Officer, M.M. Dhonchak, has argued that it is established law that the Bar Association does not have the authority to discuss a Judge’s behaviour at its meetings.

He has also argued that lawyers cannot use strike or boycott tactics, and that a Bar Association cannot pass a resolution to support a strike or boycott of court work.

“The sum and substance of the impugned order in virtually allowing the writ petition is indicative of the fact that a Judge shall hold his office only during the pleasure of the Bar,” the SLP filed by Advocate DK Sharma adds.

“In the majority of Bar Associations, those who do not have briefs rule the roost and contribute to decision-making. In the preceding scenario, the Judge must subordinate himself to the Advocates and deviate from his objective and independent functioning in order to advance the cause of justice.”

“Virtually legalized the illegal and contemptuous boycott of the Tribunal by the Advocates and the same is likely to have a devastating effect not only upon the independent functioning of the Tribunals but also the whole District Judiciary of the country,” the petitioner stated of the challenged High Court order.

After years of serving as a District Judge, the petitioner stated that he has a reputation for being an honest and upright judge and that the High Court’s order suggests that judicial officers should submit to the Bar’s “arm-twisting” tactics.

The complaint stated that the sum and substance of the impugned order also say that the Judge must be pliable and Machiavellian in his approach” because “taking any stand in accordance with the law of the land, especially non submission to arm twisting by the Bar Association or its Members, has the potential to withdraw his work by a judicial fiat even without providing an opportunity to hear him,”