Nagpur: A mixed bag of trouble and relief came to the controversial lawyer Satish Uke on Wednesday as the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court directed him to deposit Rs 4.12 lakh with the registry as he again skipped the hearing. The court sternly asked his counsel RR Nair, to complete formalities within a week.
However, Uke who was found guilty of contempt of court, was granted respite by keeping his 2-month jail term in abeyance for a week.
The specially constituted division bench comprising justice Prasanna Varale and justice Zaka Haq, told Uke’s counsel that if he deposits Rs4.12 lakh before deadline, his punishment would be suspended for four weeks.
However, if he failed to comply, the court’s February 28 order, awarding him to jail term, would be implemented.
The judges lashed out at Uke’s counsel for failure to assist the court and to take proper instructions from his client regarding the Rs2,000 to be deposited with the registry towards fine for committing contempt. The court slapped a cost of Rs10,000 on him which would be deposited with the High Court Legal Services Sub-Committee, here for Nair’s inability to assist the court.
“On a query, the contemnor’s counsel submitted that he isn’t aware, whether the fine is deposited by his client. An impression is created that either the contemnor or his counsel is trying to take court for a ride. Such attitude can’t be permitted. Uke should deposit the amount of fine within as per last Tuesday’s orders, within a week.”
Out of the total Rs4.12 lakh, Uke was asked to furnish surety of Rs2 lakh and another surety in same amount from the third person, both through cheques, to be deposited with the court registry within a week.
Earlier, Uke’s counsel filed an application praying for suspension of February 27 and 28 orders and his 2-month jail term. He also filed an affidavit informing that he filed a writ petition (WP No 597/2017) challenging validity of ‘Contempt’s of Court’s Act, 1971’ in the principal seat in Mumbai, which would be taken up for hearing soon. Therefore, the court should keep the orders in abeyance so that he could appear during hearings.
The judges then questioned Nair on which provision the application was moved and flayed him when he expressed inability to do so. “Nair requested for adjournment on the ground that he is not competent to argue the matter and it will be argued by some other lawyer. We’re not inclined to adjourn the matter for this reason. Though he hasn’t argued and assisted, still, in the interests of justice, we feel it appropriate that the effect, operation and execution of the judgment (of February 28) is required to be kept in abeyance. However, looking to the conduct of contemnor, we feel it necessary to impose certain conditions,” the judges noted.
Earlier, assistant public prosecutor Ketki Joshi expressed concern about preservation of the memory chips in which the proceedings of hearings are recorded. However, the judges made it clear that it should be the concern of contemnor, instead of APP. “The order directing video recording of the proceedings was passed on Uke’s application. The concern expressed by the APP, in fact, should be the concern of the contemnor. If he moves an application, we will examine it, otherwise we feel that orders on this point need not be passed on the APP’s request,” the judges observed.