Contempt Of Court: Punjab & Haryana HC orders arrest of Former cop And legal expert for Disrespecting Judges

Punjab and Haryana HC

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday ordered the Ludhiana Police to arrest former Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Balwinder Sekhon and an “alleged legal expert”, Pardeep Sharma for disrespecting High Court Judges.

 The Court also ordered the removal of social media videos containing the scandalous remarks made by Sekhon and Sharma.

The order was issued by a division bench of Justice GS Sandhawalia and Justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan in response to the alleged contemnors’ “continued misconduct,” adding that the two had taken on the High Court to achieve their personal goals.

The Court emphasised that, while freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed by the Indian Constitution, it is not an absolute right.

The Court added that by posting the controversial videos on social media, Sekhon and Sharma embarrassed and diminished the authority of the High Court, as well as interfering with judicial proceedings.

“The (up)loading of such videos on social platform at international level brings disrepute to the Constitutional Institution and it amounts to virtually inciting the public against the rule of law. Thus, a gauntlet is being thrown by the said respondents and we do not shrug off our constitutional duties to take it head on,” the bench stated.

Sekhon had previously been fired from the police force after making several allegations against his superiors and the government.

He came under scrutiny by the Court after he began making “malicious, libellous, and derogatory videos pertaining to judicial proceedings.”

He is said to have claimed that judges were under political pressure and that they do not open reports received in “sealed covers” because doing so would “wet their pants.”

Pardeep Sharma entered the fray after a criminal contempt notice was issued to Sekhon earlier this month.

According to the Court’s order, Sharma appeared in court to defend Sekhon, with whom he had previously held press conferences.

While the Court instructed Sharma to file an intervention application in the case, he refused, insisting instead that the bench hear him.

“… the undersigned Bench felt that it was not necessary, and as a result, he was marshalled out with the assistance of Police,” the Court explained.

This prompted the two to “air themselves in open public at the Court’s entrance” and launch a “vicious tirade on the proceedings that had taken place.”

As a result, the Court ordered that the two accused be placed in judicial custody and appear in court on February 24 to answer the charge of contempt.

The Court also expressed concern that Sekhon and Sharma’s misconduct had been fueled by one Baljit Marwaha, a reporter for the Scroll Punjab News Channel on YouTube.

The bench stated that the videos posted on this online platform “show that the judges of this Court have been abused to the fullest extent possible,” and that certain words used could not be included in the Court’s order.

As a result, the Court issued a bailable warrant against Marwaha, ordering him to appear before the High Court on the next date of hearing.

The matter will be addressed again on February 24,2023.

It should be noted that Sekhon and Sharma were arrested on Monday, just hours after the order was issued.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte