A judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to arrest a senior advocate and have him confined at the Institute of Mental Health and Hospital, Agra.
As the CBI took him into custody, other advocates alleged that the judge was settling personal scores.
Justice Uma Nath Singh took suo motu notice of an FIR filed with the Chandigarh police against advocate Tahar Singh by his wife, alleging that he tortured her relentlessly.
Other advocates, however, pointed out that Tahar Singh had riled many a judge by initiating requisitions on various matters relating to the bench and the bar.
In one such requisition moved two days back, he had questioned the conduct of some judges, their attitude to lawyers, and the manner in which they used the provisions relating to contempt of court. “This is an order without precedent in judicial history,” said advocate Anupam Gupta. “It is illegal and without jurisdiction. It constitutes the personal reaction of the judge to the requisition.” Tahar’s wife in an FIR had claimed that he beat and tortured her often. He had even pushed her into a river though she could not swim.
Justice Uma Nath Singh observed that only a barbaric or insane person could indulge in such conduct. In his order, he said Tahar created “nuisance and commotion” wherever he went, and was backed by “some vested interests who finance him in doing so.” “In view of serious nature of the allegations regarding beating and torture of the complainant and her children by the accused , and further that, on enquiry, the court is given to understand that even in the bar, his conducts are aggressively violent, this court is, prima facie, of the opinion, that the accused is a worst case of mental disorder,” Justice Singh’s order said. His order added that he was dissatisfied with the way the police had handled the case, calling them ‘soft’ on the advocate, and directing the CBI instead to take over the matter.
A large number of advocates gathered outside the CBI officer after Tahar’s arrest, raising slogans in his favour. A meeting of the bar council will be held soon. “The very existence of the bar is in peril by virtue of such an order,” said Gupta.