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HC refers contempt plea against YouTube, others to larger bench

The Bombay High Court referred to a larger bench a petition filed by the Bar Association challenging a video clip on YouTube which allegedly showed courtroom proceedings and levelled corruption charges against a judge.

“Perusal of the petition and other material shows contempt of court and this directly adversely affects the independence of the judiciary,” said a bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai.

“The issue is of paramount importance and puts the judiciary into disrepute. Hence the matter is referred to a larger bench,” Justice Oka said in the order.

The bench said that after its order is uploaded on the high court website, the matter may be placed on March 23 before Chief Justice Manjula Chellur who may assign the petition to a larger bench.

The larger bench would comprise three judges, according to legal sources.

The high court observed that this is a fit case of the contempt of court.

It had last week issued notice to the video-sharing website and search engine Google, seeking their response as to why action under contempt of court should not be initiated against them.

Google India’s lawyer today said that it had no control over YouTube and was not concerned with it. Besides, YouTube and Google were separate entities.

The petition has sought contempt action against the persons who recorded and uploaded the video on YouTube levelling allegations of corruption against Justice S J Kathawala of the high court.

“The 38-minute video uploaded last week by ‘Right Mirror’ copies the format of a news channel and shows a person acting as an anchor and taking interviews of several persons including lawyer Nilesh Ojha making scandalous remarks against judges of this high court,” the petition has said.

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