P R Adikesavan vs The Registrar General, High Court of Respondents Madras Case

P R Adikesavan vs The Registrar General, High Court of Respondents Madras Case

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले

Criminal Appeal No 847 of 2022
P R Adikesavan Appellant
The Registrar General, High Court of Respondents
Madras and Another
Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, J
1 The appeal arises from the judgment dated 25 March 2022 of a Division
Bench of the Madras High Court convicting appellant under Section 2(c)(iii)
read with Section 12(1) of the Contempt of Courts Act 1971 and sentencing
him two weeks of simple imprisonment.
2 Insolvency proceedings were initiated against the appellant under the
provisions of the Presidency Towns Insolvency Act 1909. On 12 March 2021,
a Single Judge of the Madras High Court issued a non-bailable warrant
seeking the presence of the appellant on 26 March 2021. On 31 March 2021,
when a team of the police tried to execute the warrant, the appellant and fifty
other advocates gheraoed the police and prevented them from executing the
order. The Deputy Commissioner of Police brought the incident to the notice
of the Registrar General of the Madras High Court by a letter dated 13 April
2021. On perusing the video clippings of the incident the Single Judge of the
Madras High Court by an order dated 14 July 2021, initiated contempt
proceedings against the appellant under Section 15 of the Contempt of
Courts Act 1926. The order of the Single judge is extracted below:
“ 4. This Court has also seen the entire footage starting from the time the
Police informed the respondent about the orders of this Court and
thereafter, how the respondent and one of his Advocate friend had
started questioning the Police Personnel and the respondent has not
paid heed to the Inspector of Police’s statement that he is only
executing the orders of this Court. The Police report would also state
that the respondent’s counsel Mr. Balasubramaniam had arrived and
he also started abusing the Police. The video footage shows his
presence. Thereafter, the scene has totally turned ugly and in one
footage, I saw two Advocates trying to pull out a Police Officer using
abusive and unparliamentary words. The entire scene is enacted on
the public road just outside the Court premises in full public view. This
is nothing but obstructing the administration of Justice. The act
becomes all the more contumacious as the respondent and the
others who are members of the noble profession have committed this
act. They are bound to respect not only the dignity of this Court but
also the orders of this Court.
5. The respondent who was fully aware of the pendency of the
proceedings had deliberately not appeared before this Court
constraining the Court to issue the Non-Bailable Warrant. A prima
facie case of Contempt is made out against the respondent and Mr.
Balasubramanian, Advocate for obstructing the Police Officials from
executing the orders of this Court. This Court takes cognizance of the
act of Criminal Contempt committed by them.”
3 On 1 September 2021, a Division Bench of the Madras High Court on
perusing the records found that a prima facie case has been made out
against the appellant and issued notice. On 26 October 2021, the Court
framed the following charge against the appellant:
“That, you, Mr. PR Adikesavan, Advocate and Mr. Balasubramanian,
Advocate, by your aforesaid conduct, in not permitting the execution of the
Non-Bailable Warrant issued by this Court on 31.03.2021, has interfered
with the administration of justice and has also obstructed the administration
of justice, thereby, you are charged under Section 2(c)(iii) of the Contempt of
Courts Act 1971, which is punishable under Section 12 of the Act, ibid.”

4 The proceedings were adjourned by the Division Bench on five occasions at
the behest of the appellant.1
 The Bench finally adjourned the case and listed
it on 28 February 2022. However, the appellant filed ‘sub-applications’ before
the next date of hearing. The sub-applications were listed along with the
1 The matter was adjourned on 23.11.2021, 30.11.2021, 21.12.2021, 24.1.2022, and 14.2.2022.
contempt petition on 28 February 2022 before the Division Bench. The
appellant submitted that he had filed sub-applications and made a
representation to the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court seeking the
recusal of one of the Judges of the Division Bench.
5 The appellant filed sub-applications seeking the issuance of summons to the
Single Judge for examining her as a witness in this case and another
application for one of the judges on the Division Bench to recuse from the
hearing. The appellant took back the applications from the Registry and did
not re-present them. By the impugned judgment dated 25 March 2022, the
appellant was held guilty of contempt and was sentenced to undergo two
weeks of simple imprisonment and was directed to pay a fine of Rs 2000. The
appellant was also barred from practising as an Advocate in the Madras High
Court for one year. The Court observed that on the video clipping shows that
the police did not use physical force against the appellant and that it was the
battery of lawyers who surrounded the police officials and abused them. The
Division Bench observed that the appellant attempted to evade service of the
non-bailable warrant though he :
“8…. Could have just accompanied the police along with his advocates to
the police station where after making necessary entry in the General Diary
in the nearby Flower Bazaar Police Station, he would have been produced
before PTAJ before whom he could have pleaded for release. Instead,
Adikesavan has played fraud on Balasubramanian by not disclosing the
truth and had collected huge number of advocates to prevent the police
from performing their duty of executing the lawful order of the Court. To be
noted, whether PTAJ was correct in issuing the non-bailable warrant or not
is a question which could have been decided by the police officer, for, he is
simply required to execute all lawful orders issued by the Court.”
6 The appellant moved this Court in an appeal under Section 19 of the
Contempt of Courts Act 1971 read with Rule XX of the Supreme Court Rules
2013. Mr K K Mani, learned senior counsel has urged that the appellant has
submitted an apology and this should be accepted.
7 The behaviour and conduct of the appellant, who is a member of the Bar has
been thoroughly contemptuous. There was a clear attempt to obstruct the
process of justice when the non-bailable warrant was sought to be served on
him by the competent police officials, which has been recorded in the video
footage. The appellant is complicit in the obstruction of justice.
8 That apart, wanton allegations have been levelled against the Single Judge of
the Madras High Court who issued the non-bailable warrant. Further, a
recusal was sought of one of the Judges hearing the proceedings thereafter
on thoroughly improper grounds. Five adjournments were sought by the
appellant before the Madras High Court, delaying the conclusion of the
proceedings only to later file sub-applications imputing allegations against
two Judges of the Madras High Court. The appellant later also took back the
sub-applications from the registry and did not re-present them. The appellant
has no respect for the administration of justice. The finding of contempt, as
well as the sentence cannot be regarded as disproportionate. Similarly, the
debarment from practicing for a period of one year is in accordance with the
judgment of this Court in R.K. Anand vs Registrar, Delhi High Court2
9 The appeal is accordingly dismissed. Pending applications, if any, stand
disposed of.

 [Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud]
 [Bela M Trivedi]
New Delhi;
May 23, 2022
2 (2009) 8 SCC 106


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