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Bar boycotts judge

chandigarh Updated: Feb 19, 2009 23:54 IST
Pawan Sharma
Pawan Sharma
Hindustan Times
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Lawyers of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday began an indefinite boycott of the court of Justice Uma Nath Singh after the judge allegedly issued contempt notice to two lawyers, including the Bar president.

However, till late in the evening the alleged contempt order was not revealed to the media and court officials said off the record that the notice might not be issued.

Sources said the decision to withdraw the notice was taken after Justice Singh, along with other judges, held a meeting in the evening, which Chief Justice T.S. Thakur reportedly called to defuse the crisis.

The Bar urged Thakur to order the transfer of Justice Singh and, till then, withdraw judicial work from him.

Trouble started after Justice Singh allegedly misbehaved with lawyer M.K. Tiwari during a hearing. On Wednesday, the counsel took up the issue with the Chief Justice through Bar president Rupinder Khosla and sought transfer of the case to another bench.

On Thursday, Justice Singh asked Tiwari if he had taken up the matter with the Chief Justice. When he replied in

the affirmative, the judge, according to Tiwari, started dictating an order to issue a contempt notice to him and Khosla for interfering in the administration of justice by seeking the intervention of the Chief Justice.

Immediately, a group of about 50 lawyers led by Khosla rushed to the courtroom of the Chief Justice.

“In view of the urgency of the issue we had to interrupt the Chief Justice and apprised him of the unfolding crisis. We sought transfer of Justice Uma Nath Singh and informed the Chief Justice about our decision,” Khosla said.

They told the Chief Justice that “this is not the isolated case”. “Justice Singh is in the habit of insulting Bar members and this is not acceptable.”

Earlier, in July 2007, Justice Singh had ordered the CBI to immediately take into custody lawyer Tahar Singh and admit him to the Agra mental hospital. The then Chief Justice had to constitute a special bench to defuse this crisis.