In a rather unpleasant turn of events that took place before a Delhi court, a junior advocate was served show cause notice for making a 40-minute audio recording of court proceedings on her mobile phone and led to the judge recusing himself from hearing the case.
The incidents happened in the court of Additional District Judge Neeraj Gaur.
Last week, the ADJ was conducting a hearing in a matter when the reader of his court pointed out to him that the proceedings were being recorded on phone by an advocate who was the junior associate of the main counsel appearing for defendants in the said matter.
When the court asked the lady advocate if any recording was being made, she responded in the negative.
The judge, however, ordered his staff to check her mobile phone and it found a 40-minute audio recording of the court proceeding in her matter saved in an app.
When the court enquired as to why the proceedings were being recorded, the junior could not assign any reasons while her senior pleaded unawareness about her act. He also told the court that he would instruct his junior against indulging in such conduct in the future.
At this, the junior tendered an apology but the court served her and the senior counsel a show cause notice and posted the matter for post-lunch session for replies till which time the phone was kept in its custody.
“The act of secretly recording the court proceedings is against the rules. In absence of any plausible explanation, the motive of the recording appears to be ulterior. A recording made in such a manner and with such a motive amount to interference with the administration of justice and is contemptuous. Under the circumstances the court issued notice to the junior associate as well as the senior to show cause as to why a contempt reference be not made against them and posted the matter for post lunch session for reply to the show cause notice,” said ADJ Gaur.
Post lunch, he recorded, “The court proceedings have found to be audio recorded by not a layman but by an advocate. She is an associate of the main counsel …has tendered unconditional apology for her conduct while the senior has pleaded unawareness about the act of his junior associate. Before making any reference for contempt, I should first satisfy myself if it will be expedient and in the larger interest of justice that such reference be made. Although there is no plausible explanation for the entire episode, the larger interest of justice demands that the unconditional apology be accepted. She is young in the profession and has a long career ahead. The apology is accordingly accepted with a warning to be careful in the future. The show cause notice is hereby discharged and the phone is returned against acknowledgment.”
The judge, however, recused from the case as he said, “Many unpleasant episodes have occurred in the present case. On the last date of hearing defendant number one had cast aspersions on my integrity that were duly recorded in the proceedings. Today’s episode is also not segregable from the earlier episodes. To uphold one of the canons of judicial ethics that the justice should not only be done, but it should also appear to have been done, I am of the view that this case should no longer be tried by me. With all humility, I recuse myself from this case,” said Justice Gaur.
Advocate Birender Sangwan, who has been highlighting various issues of security and infrastructure in Rohini court, said, “Such practice of recording court proceedings is unfortunate and seniors should apprise young lawyers to maintain the dignity of the court and the legal profession.”