GULZAR PEER CASE: HC holds lawyer in contempt for ‘scathing attack’ on state’s judiciary

Srinagar: The J&K High Court has issued notice to a lawyer, representing self-styled faith-healer Gulzar Peer, to show cause as to why he should not be punished for having committed contempt of the court by making a ‘scathing statement’ against the functioning of the state’s judiciary.
Hearing an appeal filed by state against Peer’s acquittal by sessions court Budgam of the charges of rape of four girls, a bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey issued the notice after the lawyer, advocate Mushtaq Ahmad Dar, questioned ‘state of affairs’ of the judiciary in the state.
Referring to the statement given by investigating officer of the case before the trial court, Dar submitted that one male magistrate and female magistrate were sitting in one chamber and recorded the statement of the prosecution witnesses u/s 164-A CrPC. “The male magistrate told the lady Magistrate that some statements will be recorded by him and some by her,” he said, adding, “this is the state of our Judiciary in the State.”
The Court took serious objections to the statements and informed Dar that it amounted to scandalization and lowering down the prestige of the institution of judiciary in the eyes of general public.
At that time when Dar made the statement, the court room was jam packed with host of lawyers and general public.
The court asked the lawyer that he should have not made such “scathing statement” and that he will be proceeded against. However Dar stated that he has made reference to the statement of the IO.
However, the court observed that the IO has not used any such words in his statement and that advocate Dar by his expressions and conduct was showing ‘inveterate defiance to the court’.
Dar stated he may be proceeded against and as observed by the court, he did not show “any remorse of having used words, expressions which have the potential of scandalizing and lowering down prestige of the Court in the eyes of general public by his word and also by his conduct.”
“This Court is duty bound to protect the judges of the subordinate courts from being harassed and comments being made about their conduct in the discharging of their judicial functions. This Court is further duty bound to protect the majesty of law and uphold the dignity of the Courts,” the bench observed.
“It is always painful to initiate contempt proceedings against any person. But at times such painful decisions require to be taken to preserve and maintain the majesty of courts and rule of law,” the court said and accordingly put Dar to notice.
He has been asked to show cause as to why he be not punished for having committed contempt of the court.
He was also asked tp show cause as to why case be further not referred to bar council for cancellation of his license.
The High Court has already stayed acquittal of Peer.
Four girls studying at Peer’s ‘seminary’ at Shamasabad village of Budgam had complained to the police on May 19, 2013 that he had been raping them after calling them to his chamber on the pretext of religious teachings.
On February 12, Peer and the others were acquitted by the Sessions Court which observed that prosecution failed to prove the guilt against them. The court has already heard the arguments by the state.