Wednesday, March 27, 2019

SC Sentences Nedumpara To 3 Months Jail For Contempt; Bars From Practising In SC; Suspends Sentence On Undertaking

The Supreme Court bench of Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran today sentenced Advocate Mathews Nedumpara to 3 months imprisonment, which will remain suspended so long as he abides by his undertaking that he will not attempt to browbeat any judge of High Court or Supreme Court. 
He has also been barred from appearing in Supreme Court for a period of one year from today.
On March 11, the bench of Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran had held him guilty for committing contempt in the face of the court and had issued notice to him to hear him on sentence.

Nedumpara's lawyer sought for a change of the bench, and said that no hearing of sentence can be done without framing charges. The bench was not prepared to accept these arguments. The bench said that it has already held him guilty for contempt and another bench cannot hear him on sentence. Though Nedumpara offered unconditional apology as a last resort, it could not persuade the bench. 

The Court's action was triggered by Nedumpara's reference to Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman while alleging that only relatives of judges were being designated as senior advocates. Despite the cautioning by the court, he repeated the reference. When questioned about it, he denied having done so. When the others present in the Court confirmed his action, he attempted to justify his references.
"We are of the view that the only reason for taking the learned Senior Advocate's name, without there being any relevance to his name in the present case, is to browbeat the Court and embarrass one of us", said the court.
The Court's finding was not based on his solitary action of taking the name of Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman. Rather, the Court took into accountseveral past orders passed by the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court deprecating the rough conduct of Nedumpara in Court. 
"This is not the first time that this particular advocate has attempted to browbeat and insult Judges of this Court", observed the bench of Justice R F Nariman and Vineet Saran while holding advocate Mathews Nedumpara guilty of committing contempt in the face of the court.
"In point of fact, the style of this particular advocate is to go on arguing, quoting Latin maxims, and when he finds that the Court is not with him, starts becoming abusive", said the Court. It added that he is mostly briefed in hopeless cases, vast majority of them being cases of debtors who have persistently defaulted, and he attempts to "browbeat the court" to get discretionary orders.
Based on the his past conduct, the SC observed "Nedumpara is in the habit of terrorising Tribunal members and using intemperate language to achieve his ends before several Judges of the Bombay High Court"

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