Thursday, July 19, 2018

Judge loses case after lawyer ‘likes’ his FB post

Can a judge hear a matter after a lawyer arguing the case before him has commented on his Facebook post? In a unique case, a division bench of the Bombay high court has ruled that a principal judge was justified in transferring a matter from a court after a lawyer commented on the judge’s post on social media.
“The conduct of the lawyer in responding to the Facebook post of a judge who was hearing their appeals could be viewed as professional misconduct,” said the bench, adding that the principal judge was right in transferring the matter to another court.

The matter before the court concerned a property dispute between two families. An order against a decree was being heard by the additional district judge at the Pune sessions court. In April 2018, the lawyer representing the petitioner’s family, who is also a family member, commented on a Facebook post of the judge. The additional sessions judge brought it to the notice of the principal judge, who transferred the matter from his court.

The family approached the HC high court challenging the decision and also sought that the matter is removed from the judge who was now assigned to hear it. They claimed that the additional sessions judge should not have recused himself from the matter as he had heard the case over the last three years. The HC rapped the petitioners for “forum shopping” and dismissed the petition.

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