NEW DELHI: In an unprecedented development, the Supreme Court sacked two of its assistant registrars who were allegedly found tampering with a court order that wrongly stated that industrialist Anil Ambani was exempt from personally appearing in court in a contempt case.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who is also the administrative head of the top court, reportedly sacked assistant registrars Manav Sharma and Tapan Kumar Chakraborty, who were responsible for taking down the judge’s orders and getting them uploaded on the website.
Court masters are officials in charge of taking down orders that are dictated in open court or in judges’ chambers.
The CJI invoked Section 11(13) of the Supreme Court, which empowers him to dismiss an employee under extraordinary circumstances without normal disciplinary proceedings.
The action from the CJI was followed by a complaint by Justice Rohinton F Nariman, who has been hearing the contempt case against Anil Ambani.
The CJI took note of an instance of tampering with Justice Nariman’s order in January when a show-cause notice of contempt was issued to Anil Ambani over alleged failure to clear outstanding dues to Ericsson India despite categorical undertakings to the top court. The order uploaded on the SC website on January 7 said the “personal appearance of the alleged contemnor(s) is dispensed with”.
This means that Ambani’s presence was not required on the next date of hearing although the rule is that anybody who is issued a contempt notice must show up once and request for exemption of his personal appearance on future dates.
The order was uploaded on the website even though Justice Nariman had hours before made it clear that Ambani’s personal appearance was not dispensed with.