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Two Lawyers held for contempt of Court by the Madras High Court

In the year 2020 a writ petition was filed accusing Ms. Poornima, the then High Court registrar, of not passing 12th Standard.A Bench consisting of Chief Justice Sahi and Justice Sethilkumar found that the allegation was false thereby dismissing the petition.

The first bench found the Advocate B Sathish Kumar, the advocate who moved the plea, guilty of contempt of court thereby imposing him of a fine of Rs. 5 lakhs.

Sathish Kumar then filed an affidavit apologising and mentioning that he moved the plea due to the insistence of his seniors, Vasudevan.

When he was questioned the senior denied the allegations however the court remained unconvinced. It was later discovered that Vasudevan had paid the cost imposed of Kumar by the first bench.

A bench of justice PN Prakash and RN Manjula took up the matter of High Court of Madras v. B. Satish Kumar and Ors. on the reference made by a bench headed by the Chief Justice.

The passed an order on 27th August 2021 stating that they were completely satisfied with the fact that the two lawyers had acted together and plotted a devious plan thereby manufacturing a frivolous affidavit which was a calculated move to not only force out the then registrar but also bring down the prestige of the High Court. The bench added that the lawyers circulated the petition in the press even before it was admitted before the court. They added that this led to bringing the administration of court before the public eye and thereby dishonouring the institution.

The court expressed its displeasure towards this action of the lawyers. The bench then stated that being the officers of the court it was their additional responsibility to avoid situations which would damage the honour of the society as it is the very institution which gives them their identity.

The Court concluded that both advocates Sathish Kumar and Vasudevan were guilty of contempt of Court on charges earlier framed under Section 2(c)(iii) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971and Section 2(c)(i) read with Section 12(1). The court imposed a fine of Rs. 2000 for each charge thereby a total of Rs. 6000 for the three charges and added that if he defaulted this, he would have to go through a simple imprisonment of one week for each charge.

Once the payment was made Kumar would be allowed to resume his High Court practice. This sentence was given after taming into consideration that he belonged to a poor family along with which he had apologised and had already been slapped with a payment of Rs. 5 lakhs as cost.

Vasudevan on the other hand because was not apologetic for his actions he was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for one month for each charge along with Rs. 2000 for each charge summing up to 3 months of imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 6000. Along with this he was barred from practicing before the High court for a period of one year. The case was then dismissed.

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