Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mobile phones cause havoc in HC

Mobile phones cause havoc in HC

MOHAMED IMRANULLAH S.

MADURAI, September 24, 2011

Instances of frequent ringing of mobile phones inside court halls of the Madras High Court Bench here despite a specific ban has been a cause of concern for long. The blaring sound of movie songs, sound of whistles and other annoying noises disturb the court proceedings frequently. While some judges take a lenient view, others insist on seizing those phones.

Not only litigants but also lawyers, sometimes, forget to switch off their mobile phones before entering the court halls. Recently, Justice R. Mala ordered the seizure of a mobile phone belonging to an Additional Public Prosecutor as it rang when he was on his legs arguing a case. "I warned you yesterday itself. Yet, it is ringing today too," she said. However, the phone was returned at the end of the day.

On Friday, a lawyer filed a contempt of court application in the Bench against Sivaganga Revenue Divisional Officer Durga Moorthi (who is now enquiring into the police firing at Ilayangudi on September 11) accusing her of talking over her mobile phone at Court Hall No. 4 when Justice K. Venkataraman was conducting the court proceedings on June 15, a day when lawyers were on a court boycott.

According to the contempt applicant, K. Neelamegam, he was standing in the visitors' gallery without robes when he used his mobile phone to shoot the picture of the RDO speaking over her phone. When questioned, she allegedly gave a terse reply. Hence, the lawyer lodged a complaint with the Registrar (Judicial) as well as the Othakadai police station. He also sent a legal notice to her on the same day.

Replying to the notice on June 23, Ms. Moorthi said: "It is true that while I was in the visitors' gallery, the official cell phone which was kept in silent mode indicated the urgent call from the Collector and I immediately informed in a very low tone without hindrance to anybody about my preoccupation in the Honourable High Court."

"As such, the above said usage of the official cell phone ended in two seconds. But this has been unimaginably magnified in the (legal) notice as if I continued the usage despite your request which is not at all true to facts. I know the prohibition on the use of cell phone within the court hall… But a perusal of the photograph shows that you (lawyer) have utilised your cell phone within the court hall quite against the prohibition.

"Therefore, in fact, you have demonstrated your wilful disrespect to the Honourable High Court… Your alleged conversation with me is imaginary and false. I have great respect for the Honourable High Court… The word 'prosecution' used in your notice is not in good taste and it has no legal sense at all. Please avoid such threatening letters to a responsible government official who is also an Executive First Class Magistrate.

"If you continue to do so unmindful of the reply, it will be resisted suitably by taking all legal steps at your cost and risk which you may strictly note and avoid further unpleasantness."

Courtesy_



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