New Delhi: The Supreme court on Wednesday awarded a Mumbai-based lawyer Mathews Nedumpara three months’ suspended jail sentence after it found him guilty of contempt of court and for browbeating the judges of higher judiciary.
The bench of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran said the jail sentence would remain suspended in view of his unconditional apology and the undertaking given to the court through his affidavit.
Nedumpara is a prominent face of the National Lawyers’ Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms.
The court also barred Nedumpara for one year from appearing in the top court.
However, that was not the end of Nedumpara’s woes, as taking cognizance of a report from the Bombay Bar Association and another entity, the apex court issued fresh contempt of court notice to him and three others.
The court directed its registry to place the matter before Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi for its listing before an appropriate bench.
In the pre-lunch hearing of the matter, Justice Nariman told Nedumpara: “You know I have a daughter who practises law and she is not allowed to enter this court by me.”
“Fali Nariman is not the issue. Father of Justice U.U. Lalit practises here. If the matter was issue based, why was the name of Justice Lalit not mentioned?” Justice Nariman said.
The top court had on March 12, 2019, held Nedumpara guilty of contempt of court when he mentioned the name of senior counsel Fali S. Nariman — father of Justice Nariman — during his argument, which the court had objected to.
Arguing against the practice of Supreme Court designating advocates as “seniors” through a writ petition, lawyer Mathews Nedumpara mentioned the name of Fali S. Nariman, himself a distinguished Supreme Court lawyer, which the two judge-bench found to be contempt in the face of the court.
“Conduct of this kind deserves punishment which is severe. Though we could have punished Nedumpara by this order itself, in the interest of justice, we issue notice to Nedumpara as to the punishment to be imposed upon him for committing contempt in the face of the court,” the court had said in its March 12 judgment.
The court hearing on Wednesday was limited to the punishment for contempt.