Apex court allows Uke to tender unconditional apology before HC

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 Feb 2018 09:44:27


Staff Reporter,

Convicted for contempt by both High Court and Supreme Court, Satish Uke now seeks to withdraw all allegations against High Court

Granting one last chance to Satish Mahadeorao Uke, convicted for contempt by both High Court and Supreme Court (SC), to tender unconditional
apology and withdraw all allegations levelled against the High Court and its judges, the Supreme Court of India on Wednesday permitted Uke to mention matter before the Nagpur bench of High Court and tender his unconditional apology and withdraw all allegations.

A division bench consisting of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha, while hearing the review petition filed by Uke, granted this last opportunity while keeping proceedings pending.
Senior Congress leader and senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for Uke expressed desire to withdraw all allegations made by him against the High Court and its judges which led to his conviction last year.

During last hearing on January 17, senior advocates Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaisingh had represented Uke.
On Wednesday, as directed by the Apex court, Uke was present in the court and his counsel sought to unconditionally withdraw all scandalous allegations after which this temporary reprieve has been granted.

Uke was convicted by Nagpur bench of Bombay High for scandalising the court and vilifying the judicial system on February 27-28, 2017 after videographing entire proceedings- a first in the history of Nagpur bench taking into account past antecedents of Uke in making wild allegations against judges, lawyers, and even during proceedings, Uke produced another objectionable application which led to registration of second contempt against him.

On August 8, a division bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha had dismissed the criminal appeal filed by Uke against the order of High Court making it clear that no interference was required and affirmed the order convicting Uke for two months imprisonment. From his conviction, Uke was on the run and later during hearing of review petition, he was granted exemption from surrendering. In fact, the Supreme Court was so angry with his conduct that the bench actually sought to know as to why the two months sentence imposed upon him by the High Court should not be enhanced.

Uke was convicted by High Court, after showing leniency for a long period, for “vilifying the judiciary and for repeatedly filing fake, frivolous and vexatious cases with wild allegations to scandalise the court, officers of the court and mud-slinging the record of the court.”

The High Court convicted him for two months simple imprisonment under Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, in which imprisonment upto 6 months is prescribed and dubbed his behaviour as atrociously audacious. The apex court, while strongly disapproving conduct of contemnor-Uke, had observed, “Contempt, rather repeated acts thereof, is ex facie apparent,” and maintained the sentence awarded by the High Court and fine of Rs 2,000.

After his conviction, Uke was untraceable leading to seizure of his property and forfeiture of Rs 2 lakh deposited with the Court registry. A lawyer and a notary who filed and affirmed his affidavit, too, landed in trouble. His last ditch effort to challenge vires of the Contempt of Courts Act before Mumbai bench had also failed after the Principal bench slammed him for bench hunting and forum shopping while observing that it violates judicial discipline and would lead to disharmony and discontent amongst the Judges of High Court and would open floodgates for vexatious litigants.

The suo motu contempt petition was initiated at the instance of Single Judge Bench of Justice Ravi K Deshpande and referred to a specially constituted division bench consisting of Justice P B Varale and Justice Z A Haq for adjudication by the Chief Justice. Uke tried to protract the proceedings by moving various applications, seeking transfer of case, asking judges to recuse, seeking exemption from personal appearance and adjournment to move Supreme Court, but the High Court after giving him ample opportunity and patient hearing, firmly rejected all such applications, closing all options before the contemnor.

The High Court had framed contempt charges against Uke charging him with trying to browbeat the court, resorting to bench hunting, tarnishing the image of judges and judicial officers by hurling reckless and false allegations. The High Court had already restrained Uke from instituting any proceeding either himself or through anyone else scandalising the court, judges and judicial officers and also to approach any public communication system including the print, visual and social media platforms. The High Court had also directed Uke to deposit his passport, furnishing all details of all the proceedings initiated by him including the proceedings which are disposed of, in which he was party in person, and details of all immovable properties owned.

The High Court took a serious note of past attempts made by Uke to make absolutely wild allegations against almost all sitting judges forcing them to recuse from hearing the matter and dubbed it as a gross abuse of process of law. Such vilification of judges would lead to the destruction of the system of administration of justice and statements are not only derogatory but also have the propensity to lower the authority of the Court. The contemnor had indulged in an assault on the integrity of the judges of the High Court by making baseless and unsubstantiated allegations, the High Court had noted while holding him guilty of criminal contempt.