In an unprecedented incident, a Delhi judge was physically assaulted on Wednesday by a group of lawyers inside his courtroom at Rohini district court complex, after he asked them not to interrupt the proceedings.
Additional District Judge (ADJ) Pankaj Gupta, who presides over a family court hearing matrimonial cases, was made to stand against the wall, slapped and beaten.
The “unidentified lawyers”, as the FIR put it who beat him up, also thrashed the court staff when they tried to stop the lawyers from reaching the judge on the dais.
A case of rioting, causing hurt and damaging public property has been registered against five persons at the Prashant Vihar Police station, said a senior police officer who did not wish to be identified.
A few months back, a litigant had hurled a slipper at a Supreme Court judge during the proceedings.
As the news of a fellow judge being beaten up spread in legal circles, shocked office bearers of the Delhi Judicial Officers’ Association called an emergency meeting at Tis Hazari to discuss the issue.
The judges decided to meet Delhi High Court Chief Justice A.P. Shah to apprise him of the “insecurity felt by judicial officers” and demand “remedial measures” for their safety and security.
When contacted, Chief Justice Shah said: “This is very unfortunate. The high court will take appropriate action.”
Condemning the attack on Gupta, Delhi Bar Council President Ved Prakash Sharma said: “We will constitute a committee to probe the matter.”
It all started in the pre-lunch session, when ADJ Gupta was presiding over the proceedings in court no. 314. Just as the judge made an inquiry about a fictitious petition, a lawyer started obstructing the proceedings.
Giving the sequence of event leading to the incident, the judicial officers’ resolution said when Gupta asked the lawyer not to interfere in the inquiry; the enraged lawyer went out and came back with a group of lawyers.
“The judge was abused and later the lawyers climbed the dais and slapped the judge,” read the resolution.
The lawyers forced the judge to stand by the wall and thrashed him continuously. “The judge was repeatedly slapped and he was dragged from his chair. The advocates even tried to snatch his black robe as he pleaded for mercy.”
The police reached the spot after a PCR call was made by the court staff.
Rohini Bar Association President B S Rana said, “The judge has refused to identify the lawyers who had attacked him I met him and did not see any prominent physical injury.”