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Delhi HC judge slaps crim contempt on legal mag for son, nightclub & cops story [READ ORDER]

Night clubbing, somewhere (image for representational purposes only)
Night clubbing, somewhere (image for representational purposes only)

A Delhi high court judge initiated contempt proceedings and ordered injunction against legal news magazine India Legal for a report that stated that the judge’s son had an interest in the Delhi nightclub Hype, which was allowed by police to allegedly remain open late beyond the licensed closing time, reported the Times of India.

In his 10 October order serving notice on India Legal’s publishers, editors and photographer, the judge stated that his son had informed him that he held no stake in Hype.

The order stated [view order]:

“[…] under a separate heading 'Connections help' the article records as follows

‘According to police and excise sources [the judge’ son’s] connections makes them jittery when it comes to strictly enforcing their own directives. However, other pubs and hotels are not so lucky as there are so many "clauses" within the license issued to them that the police could always invoke to make them close in time. However, "greasing" palms is a way out of any sticky situation’.

The article ends with the following lines

‘It's obvious that while the rules are the same for everyone, their implementation, sadly, isn't.’

The write-up is totally mischievous and contains outrageous allegations concerning me and my son […]”

“What is even more shocking is the misplaced courage, daredevilness and audacity of the author and publishers of the article to drag my name in the write-up and to make it further worst my large size photograph has been published on page no. 49 of the magazine to give an impression to the public at large, particularly to the legal community as if the said bar Hype is owned by my son […] and I have some interest in it. Unfortunately it does not stop here. On the cover page of the magazine the stories which the magazine contain are given as highlights and one of such highlight for the edition is referred to as "Judge's 24x7 tippling joint". Further on page 7 under the heading contents in a separate highlighted portion the title of the story at page 48 has been described as " A night club in Delhi owned by senior judge that flouts all norms....”

“It is beyond my comprehension to gage as to with what objectives and at whose motivation and agenda such a scandalous, defamatory article has been published, but that there is no doubt in my mind that one of the objective appears to be to damage, discredit me and my family and above all to bring into disrepute the judiciary as a whole for some ulterior motives. Such an irresponsible, reckless and contemptuous article is bound to shatter the faith of the common man in the administration of justice.”

The judge served the publishing house, EN Communications, and the entire publishing and editorial staff with contempt notices returnable on 17 October, and added in the order: “Separate contempt notices shall be later issued against all those, who were part of the Indian Legal Team, who have contributed the said write up on the disclosure of their names by the other notices.”:

“In the meanwhile with a view to prevent any further onslaught on my image and the image of the judiciary, I direct the Respondents to stop publishing and circulating the said edition forthwith. I also direct the Commissioner of Delhi Police through concerned DCP New Delhi District to immediately seize and confiscate the entire stock of this edition from all offices of the aforesaid publishing house whether located in Delhi or elsewhere as per the information given in the magazine itself and from the printing press of Cirrus Graphics Pvt. Ltd. publishers on behalf of E.N. Communications Pvt. Ltd.

I also direct that no news concerning this matter shall be published, appear, transmitted, communicated or aired in any manner or whatsoever in the print media or the electronic media or world wide web/internet, emails, blogs and etc.”

The next hearing is on 18 November 2014.

Read full order

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