In an odd development, the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has dismissed two court masters — Manav Sharma and Tapan Kumar Chakraborty — for tampering with a court order directing personal appearance of Reliance Communications (RCom) chairman Anil Ambani in a contempt case.
A bench led by justice RF Nariman on January 7 while issuing contempt notice on a plea by Ericsson made it clear that Ambani’s personal appearance was not dispensed with. However, the order that was uploaded on the website (by the two court masters) said “personal appearance of the alleged contemnor(s) dispensed with”. The word “not” was omitted to suggest that Ambani wasn’t required to appear in person, and an inquiry revealed that the omission was deliberate.
The court had reserved its ruling on Ericsson’s contempt proceedings against RCom and Ambani for failing to clear outstanding dues of about `550 crore to the Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer which said that Ambani had given an unconditional undertaking to the court to pay off.
Article 311 of the Constitution and Section 11(13) of the Supreme Court empowers the Chief Justice of India to dismiss any employee under “extraordinary” circumstances without resorting to normal disciplinary proceedings.
When Ericsson’s lawyers led by senior counsel Dushyant Dave pointed out the error, the revised correct version of the order was uploaded on January 10. Soon an inquiry was ordered on a complaint by justice Nariman which revealed that the omission of the word “not” was deliberate. – Financial Express