SC Dismissed Its Own Officials For Tampering With Judicial Documents In Anil Ambani's Contempt Case
On February 13, the Supreme Court dismissed two of its own officials. The two officials have been accused of tampering with a judicial document, making it appear to say that Anil Ambani has been exempted from personal appearance in a contempt case filed by Ericsson.
Officials of SC dismissed
Court masters Manav Sharma and Tapan Kumar Chakraborty employed as assistant registrars in the apex court were dismissed. As part of their job, they are supposed to take down all orders dictated in the open court or in the judges’ chambers.
The decision to suspend Sharma and Chakraborty was given by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and he signed an official order dismissing the two officials after the initial inquiry showed tampering. The Telegraph reported that the CJI quoted Section 11(13) of the SC. Under this, CJI can dismiss employees without initiating disciplinary proceedings, in extraordinary circumstances.
After the alleged tampering, which was uploaded on the SC website on January 7, the order said “personal appearance of the alleged contemnor(s) is dispensed with” instead of “personal appearance of the alleged contemnor(s) is not dispensed with”. As reported by New18, Justice Nariman who was hearing the contempt case against Ambani, just hours before the document was uploaded, had said that Ambani was required to be available in person.
Sources say that omission of the word “not” was not accidental. The discrepancy was pointed out by the Ericsson representatives after the tweaked order was uploaded. After the discrepancy was pointed out, Justice Nariman expressed shock and got the correct order uploaded. He then filed a complaint and preferred an inquiry against court officials.
As reported by The Telegraph, unless the court says otherwise, a person has to appear in person against whom proceedings have been initiated under the Contempt of Court Act.
After the order was revised, Ambani was present in the court on February 12 and 13 in regard to the proceedings. As per News18, Justice Nariman told Mukul Rohatgi and Kapil Sibal who were appearing for RCom and Ambani said, “Consequences will follow of what you have done”.
Ericsson vs RCom
On failing to pay the dues of Rs 550 crore by RCom to Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson even after the deadline extension, Ericsson filed its second contempt petition in January 2019 in the Supreme Court. In the contempt petition, Ericsson had asked Ambani to be detained and be barred from travelling overseas unless he ensures payment reported The Economic Times.
The Ambani-owned company, on September 28, 2018, had asked for a 60-day extension to the previously decided deadline of September 30 to settle dues. So, RCom was supposed the due on December 15. However, the company again failed to pay the dues, following which Ericsson filed a second contempt petition. Earlier Ericsson has petitioned in the apex court to not allow Anil Ambani and two senior executives from his group to leave the country after the alleged default in payments, reported The Times of India.
Earlier this month, Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Communications has decided to opt for insolvency proceedings.