Lawyer gets month in jail for Facebook post on HC Judge; Should we respect the judicial system?
Posting a message on Facebook against a Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge has landed a lawyer in trouble. Making it clear that the dignity of the judicial system can be lowered with the publication of a Facebook post as well, a Division Bench has sentenced contemnor-advocate Manish Vashishth to a month’s simple imprisonment.
The suo motu contempt case had been initiated against the Narnaul-based advocate after he posted on Facebook remarks against a High Court Judge in connection with a judicial order passed by him on August 24 last year. The Bench noted that the order was passed in some personal litigation involving the contemnor.
In his Facebook post, Vashishth alleged that the judgment passed against him by the High Court was “not speaking” and a better decision could have been written by a magistrate. He claimed that the Judge had not uploaded the judgment as he might not have understood what was to be written.
The Bench asserted that such a derogatory remark was contemptuous on the face of it and as such, the contemnor was held guilty of having committed contempt of court.
The Bench noted that the general public’s faith in the judiciary would be shattered in case punishment was not awarded to a person scandalising and lowering the authority of not just the court but also the judiciary in the eyes of the general public by his publication.
“The dignity and authority of the court has to be maintained not only by the general public, but also by advocates, who constitute an important part of the system of the administration of justice and are considered as officers of the court,” asserted the Bench of Justice MMS Bedi and Hari Pal Verma.
Before parting with the order, the Bench stated that the order of sentence would not be implemented till the Supreme Court reopened after the summer break on July 2 for enabling him to avail the statutory right to file an appeal.
He should surrender in the Narnaul CJM’s court on July 31 to undergo the sentence, the Bench ruled. In case of failure, it would be open to the CJM to issue warrants of arrest against the contemnor, subject to any order passed by the appellate court, the Bench concluded.
DCs work as dist magistrates sans govt notification: RTI; Is this an administrative mistake of Govt.?
Deputy Commissioners (DCs) in Haryana have been exercising powers of District Magistrates (DMs) for over four decades without a notification by the government empowering them to exercise such powers.
A reply to RTI pleas by Hemant Kumar, an Ambala-based advocate, has revealed that no such notification has been issued by the government ever since the present Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, has come into force from April 1, 1974.
“You are informed that the matter regarding declaration to empower all DCs to act as DMs in their respective districts in terms of provisions of Section 20 of the Criminal Procedure Code is under consideration of the government and as and when it will be decided, the decision will be conveyed to you,” said an interim reply given by the office of Additional Chief Secretary, Administration of Justice Department, to Kumar’s RTI query.
Kumar filed an RTI plea in December last year, demanding a copy of notification issued under the CrPC for empowering DCs as DMs in their respective districts.
The department, in turn, forwarded Kumar’s plea to all DCs asking them to reply it.
When he did not get any such notification from any of the DCs, Kumar moved another application, this time quoting an SC judgment (in Ajaib Singh vs Gurbachan Singh) that said a notification under Section 20 of the CrPC was mandatory to empower DCs with magisterial powers.
In an interim reply to his second plea, the department said it was under consideration of the government. “I stumbled upon this issue while going through the gradation and distribution list of IAS officers of the Haryana cadre and the HSC officer executive branch. I noticed that while the government had issued a notification for empowering additional deputy commissioners as additional district magistrates and sub-divisional officer (civil) as sub-divisional magistrates, but no such notification had ever been issued with regards to DCs, though they acted as DMs in their respective districts,” said Hemant Kumar.
Govt to move SC against HC ruling on regularisation: CM; Is the Government losing by weak plebiscite in HC?
The Haryana Government will file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the verdict of the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashing the regularisation of employees carried out by the previous Congress government.
Interacting with mediapersons here on Sunday, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the state government would try its best to protect the interests of its employees.
“The state government had strongly pleaded the regularisation policy in the High Court, but the court cancelled it due to some shortcomings in the policy under which the employees were regularised,” he said, adding: “We do not want the recruitments to be cancelled.”
Khattar said that more than 24,000 recruitments had been made in the state in a transparent manner. “Some old gangs were found cheating innocent people to make money. Eight persons have been arrested and they are being questioned,” he said.
“Since aspirants twice the numbers of vacancies are generally called for interview, only half of them are expected to get jobs. But this gang used to trap these people and demand money from them,” he said.
Referring to the recruitments being made in the state, he said people were satisfied with the functioning of the government. As many as 24,500 candidates had joined on various posts without encountering any difficulty in recruitment. “Still recruitments to nearly 13,000 posts are pending due to stay orders. Altogether, 54,000 posts are to be filled. Apart from this, 38,000 posts are to be filled by the Haryana Staff Selection Commission,” he said, adding that around 1 lakh people would be recruited by the state government in the near future.
‘Farmers being misled’
The Chief Minister has stated that farmers would never forgive those who have thrown their vegetables and spilled milk on the roads. “The self-styled leaders and vested interests who are misguiding the farmers into doing so are their biggest enemies,” he said, while talking to mediapersons after an interaction with employed youth on the Maharishi Dayanand University (MDU) campus here.
‘Gaon Bandh’ evokes mixed response; Will the farmers benefit from this?
The 10-day “Gaon Bandh” (village shutdown) call given by various farmers’ organisations drew a mixed response in Haryana.
While Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) state president Gurnam Singh Charuni claimed that the supply of fruits, vegetables and milk was reduced to 20 per cent across the state, sources said the response was mixed.
In Fatehabad, agitating farmers stopped vehicles carrying green vegetables and threw these on the road. Later, they stopped a milkman and forced him to pour the entire milk into empty drums brought from the village.
They fled when the police arrived at the spot. Later, the police took out a flag march at the national highway near Dhangar village to instil confidence in those farmers who wanted to take their produce to the town for sale.
In the Ratia Chungi area of Fatehabad, drums of milkmen were emptied on the road by agitators. They dispersed when the police arrived on the spot.
The farmers staged a dharna at several places in Sirsa, Hisar, Kurukshetra and Yamunanagar, but the response was poor in these districts. Charuni said the impact of the strike would be known after two days. “People had started storing vegetables in view of our strike and did not feel the pinch on the first day,” he said.
Karnal: Urban areas did not have any visible impact of “Gaon Bandh” on the first day. Farmers came to the vegetable market to sell vegetables and fruits and sold milk in the city.
Deepak Kumar, a wholesaler, said farmers came to the market as usual and no shopkeeper faced any problem due to the strike. Sewa Singh Arya, state president of the BKU’s Arya faction, said they went to villages to appeal to farmers and most of them participated in the strike.
Rattan Singh Mann, state president of the BKU’s Mann faction, said they would continue their strike till their demands were met and would approach farmers again.
Farmers protest non-procurement of mustard in Bhiwani; Is the government withdrawing from mustard procurement?
Mustard growers blocked Siwani road in Tosham town of Bhiwani district to protest against non-procurement of crop on Friday. Farmers started protesting after HAFED officials denied entry to mustard-laden tractor-trolleys into the grain market. The blockade was lifted after sometime to prevent a traffic jam.
However, farmers blocked the road again for five hours on Friday when the market committee authorities failed to give an assurance on resumption of purchase.
Tosham SHO Sandeep Sharma, Block Development and Panchayat officer Subhash Sharma arrived at the spot and urged the farmers to remove the blockade.
Later, All-India Kisan Sabha leader Karan Singh Jainawas said the officials concerned assured them that the procurement of mustard would be restarted. “All 124 tractor-trailers loaded with mustard have been allowed entry into the grain market. The authorities have agreed to issue tokens,” he said.