A suo moto contempt proceeding against an advocate-on-record was dropped by the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday. Shiv Ratan Kakrania was let off with a warning after he apologised for taking a screenshot of the court proceeding during a virtual hearing and posting it on his LinkedIn account. The Single Bench said, “The contempt proceedings are dropped with a warning, however, to Mr. Shiv Ratan Kakrania not to repeat such conduct in the future. The rule is discharged.”
The screenshot was followed with the caption “We are #happy to#share that we managed to obtain an#Ante- #Arbitration#Injunction (ICC Arbitration) in a matter before the Calcutta High Court”. The suo moto contempt case was set in motion by Justice Rajasekhar Mantha on August 12. A family member of Justice Mantha had received it from a classmate from out of town and brought the matter to his notice.
Due to the publication of the screenshot, certain impropriety is conspicuous and apparent, as specified by Justice Mantha –
- A screenshot of Court Proceedings has been taken which is equivalent to a photograph of a Court Proceeding, without the leave of this Court.
- The screenshot was published on a personal page of a website called ‘Linked In’ about two months ago without the leave or knowledge of this Court
- An insinuation may be evident from the aforesaid writing on the page in question seen along with the screenshot.
Representing the defendants in the suit, senior advocate Siddhartha Mitra submitted that the language used in the website could have been happier and the Court should not misconstrue the word ‘managed’ in any manner. He further stated that the expression ‘managed’ must be understood to mean ‘succeeded’ i.e. succeeded to have obtained an order in the nature of an anti‐suit injunction / anti-arbitration injunction which is otherwise not normally granted.
Mr. S Kakrania delivered an unconditional apology, in his affidavit and admitted that uploading the screenshot of the Court proceedings on the internet without the express permission of the court was wrong and also mentioned that he delete the screenshot as soon as his Counsel notified it to him. He reiterated that the statement made in the publication was wholly unintentional and had no intention to lower the dignity or the majesty of the Court.