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Heavy handed? Lawyer Seema Sapra sentenced to 1 month jail for calling judge (and many others) corrupt

Sapra's blog
Sapra's blog

Advocate Seema Sapra, who has long-alleged that General Electric and agents acting on its behalf are trying to poison her in retaliation for whistleblowing over alleged corruption at the multinational’s India offices, has been sentenced to prison for a month by the Delhi high court for contempt.

She has also been fined Rs 2,000 and barred from practising law for two years, though the jail sentence will only take effect after three months to allow her a chance to appeal, reported Mint.

Sapra had called Delhi high court Justice Vibhu Bakhru corrupt by alleging that he sat on a bench out of turn; she defended herself that she only made the statement in the heat of the moment, which should not count as contempt of court, according to the PTI.

The PTI reported that a Delhi high court bench of justices Valmiki J Mehta and P S Teji held:

Clearly therefore the action of the noticee (Sapra) in calling Justice Vibhu Bakhru as corrupt is an act of criminal contempt of this court. The wholly unsubstantiated statement made against Justice Vibhu Bakhru scandalizes or tends to scandalize this court and also lowers and tends to lower the authority of this court.

The contemptuous statement prejudices or interferes or tends to interfere with the due course of judicial proceedings inasmuch as the unsubstantiated contemptuous statement has caused recusal of a bench of this court from hearing the matter on 6 May, 2015.

The facts of this case show that the contemnor is not in any manner contrite. Contemnor has been seeking to overawe different benches of this court and has caused recusal of different benches hearing the main writ petition.

After recusal by 28 judges of this court the main writ petition was heard by this Court and dismissed in terms of the judgment dated 2 March, 2015. Petitioner has continued in the same vein even in these contempt proceedings as noted in the order dated 30 October, 2015.

That writ petition had been filed by Sapra against General Electric and several of its officials but was dismissed with Rs 2 lakh exemplary costs by the Delhi high court as “totally frivolous and a mala fide petition, and it is also an abuse of the process of the law” (read judgment):

The present writ petition was never a genuine PIL and it was only an action of a disgruntled employee who was thrown out of her employment and such a petitioner/employee through this PIL is seeking to take vendetta against her erstwhile employer with whom she has enmity. By the time the judgment in the case was reserved vide order dated 3.2.2015, volumes of the writ petition had reached to number 35 ending at page nos. 12,440.

Sapra, who had been an employee of GE in part responsible for internal compliance, had alleged primarily that GE acted improperly in pitching for a tender for the manufacture of railway locomotives, which was later cancelled by the ministry.

She has since alleged that GE has tried to poison and psychologically terrorise her, which she has detailed on her blog and in emails sent to a long list of recipients.

An anonymous blog from 2014 has alleged that she “currently seems to be suffering from mental illness”.

Update 18 December 12:54: Sapra has published a response to the high court decision on her blog that she would appeal to the Supreme Court and that the ruling and her imprisonment would “enable my being drugged and poisoned in a prison and my being eventually eliminated”: http://seemasapra.blogspot.in/2015/12/fwd-general-electric-fcpa-obstruction_18.html

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