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SC Stays Order Sending a Lawyer to Jail for One Month for Facebook Post Against HC Judge

A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had held Maneesh Vashistha guilty of contempt of court and ordered him to serve the jail term.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:August 27, 2018, 7:08 PM IST
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SC Stays Order Sending a Lawyer to Jail for One Month for Facebook Post Against HC Judge
File Photo of the Supreme Court of India.
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed a judicial order sentencing a lawyer to one month in jail for writing a Facebook post against a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

"Issue notice, returnable in four weeks. In the meantime, there shall be stay of the impugned order," said a bench headed by Justice AK Sikri.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh appeared for lawyer Maneesh Vashistha. Singh submitted before the bench that neither it could be proved that the alleged post was uploaded by Vashistha nor were the procedure of contempt law followed while punishing his client.

The bench agreed to examine his contention and sought a reply from the Punjab and Haryana high Court.

As an interim order, the top court said the HC order directing Vashistha to surrender before the Narnaul CJM to undergo the one month jail term shall remain stayed.

By an order in May, a division bench of the HC had held Vashistha guilty of contempt of court and ordered him to serve the jail term.

The suo motu contempt case had been initiated against the Narnaul-based advocate after he posted on Facebook remarks against a HC judge in connection with a judicial order passed last year in some personal litigation involving the contemnor.

The Facebook post reportedly questioned the manner in which his personal case was dismissed and further stated that the HC judge had not uploaded the judgment for almost a week since he might not have understood what was to be written.

“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,” the bench of Justice MMS Bedi and Hari Pal Verma had noted.
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