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Orissa High Court Highlights Advocate’s Conduct in Court can result in Contempt of Court Case

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Published on: 26 September 2023 at 17:35 IST

The Orissa High Court emphasized the crucial role of advocates as officers of the court, highlighting the expectation that they maintain decorum and respect towards the Bench.

Simultaneously, the court firmly expressed that the unruly and aggressive behavior of an advocate not only diminishes the majesty of the court but also disrupts its decorum, an unacceptable conduct is what that cannot be tolerated.

This pronouncement came during the court’s consideration of a petition seeking direction for the State to pay compensation and exemplary damages for the unnatural death of the petitioner’s son while in police custody.

Justice S.K. Panigrahi, presiding over a Single Judge Bench, remarked that “The conduct of Mr. Bahali, learned counsel is totally unbecoming of an Advocate and it prima facie makes out a strong case for criminal contempt punishable under Section 14 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, read with Article 215 of the Constitution of India.”

After evaluating the submissions, the Bench examined the reply from the ASI of Police, which revealed that they had traveled by train from Mumbai to Kolkata with the victim minor girl and the deceased boy, who had not been arrested by the police. Instead, he was traveling with them upon the request of his elder brother, who stated that his brother would accompany them.

Given that the circumstances surrounding the boy’s death remained enigmatic and that the petitioner had not received a copy of the FIR even after its registration, the Bench instructed the State to produce the FIR’s copy during the next hearing.

The Bench took note of a heated argument between both counsels within the courtroom, marked by the exchange of abusive language and raised voices, ultimately escalating to one advocate attempting to physically confront the other, causing a disruption in the court proceedings.

Despite the Bench’s attempts to intervene and urge both counsels to preserve the sanctity and harmonious atmosphere of the court, one of the advocates persisted in his aggressive conduct and expressed disregard for any potential court action.

In response to this misconduct, the High Court determined that such behavior by an advocate towards the court undermines the court’s sanctity and obstructs its smooth functioning.

Consequently, the court referred the matter to the appropriate authority for action in accordance with the law.

Case Title: Basanti Puhan v. State of Odisha