|CORAM:||R. P. Tolani (JM), T. R. Meena (AM)|
|CATCH WORDS:||contempt of court, strictures|
|COUNSEL:||K C Moondra|
|DATE:||May 27, 2015 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||May 28, 2015 (Date of publication)|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|The severity of accusations and fury emerging from their language is highly derogatory, defamatory and contemptuous, sent with a scheme and clear intention to intimidate judicial officers to desist from passing an unfavorable order|
(i) Without even waiting for the order Shri K C Moondra sent intimidating letters on 30-4-15 received on 1-5-15 & 2-5-15 received on 5-5-15, hurling all sorts of wild accusations about the presiding officer ld. JM and bench functioning. Such nasty and frivolous accusation can only be product of fit of furry. The barrage of indiscriminate allegations include misuse of official position, corruption, insulting him and son: colluding with retired income tax officers to harm his client so on and so forth. The severity of accusations and fury emerging from their language is highly derogatory, defamatory and contemptuous, sent with a scheme and clear intention to intimidate judicial officers to desist from passing an unfavorable order. The bench was taken aback at their venomous contents and decided to take suitable action on such baseless delinquent acts.
(ii) Without waiting for the order ld. Counsels prejudged the issues, though that bench may pass an adverse order; in order to salvage his professional interest to willy nilly win the case, by a hideous scheme he sent letter Dtd. 2-5-15 to Hon’ble President ITAT and Hon’ble Law Secretary Govt. of India and Asst. Registrar Jaipur making wild accusations of all sorts like corruption, collusion, insulting, bias, prejudice and what not. These contemptuous letters speak by themselves, frivolity of language, distorted contents and apparent self contradictory contents of his letter demonstrate that it is a crude attempt to influence independent judgment process for petty professional ends.
(iii) It shall be noteworthy that till 28-4-15 these professionals had no objection with the bench as no grievance whatsoever was raised. The casual way of adjournment against final chance shows their casual attitude of taking the judicial process for granted. The emphatic demand that – if other matters were adjourned, our appeal should also have been adjourned; amounts to dictating the terms to the court. It reflects their inaptitude in failing to appreciate the vital fact that thus adjournment was granted as a final chance which was agreed by them. “They keep ‘holier than thou attitude’; if I commit wrong or disobey there is nothing wrong in it but if the bench doesn’t conduct itself in my desired way then bench is by default wrong and I raise scandalous tirade against bench.” To show their might they shoot frivolous complaints, file litany of motivated RTIs proclaiming to be RTI activist. These brazenly scandalous acts have been unleashed by them with swagger of impunity and recklessness without realizing that when the appeal is pending orders such threats construe contempt of court.
(iv) The bench has no objection on sending any complaint to higher authorities; it’s the right of every person in free and democratic India. The most important question is propriety of sending intimidating complaints when their appeal i.e. a judicial matter is heard on merits and is pending for orders.
(v) A litigant or his representative cannot directly or indirectly; by overt or covert means attempt to influence the process of judicial decision making by shooting intimidating and derogatory letters or to pressurize the judicial officers while deciding a heard appeal.
(vi) Where is prejudice, bias or insult on the part of bench or the presiding officer. Everything is on record, proceedings are in open court witnessed by counsels from both sides. The facts and record are sufficient to demonstrate that bench was impartial and fair to the ld. Counsels and assessee. There is nothing to even remotely suggest any reason on the part of bench to show partiality, prejudice, bias or intention to insult Mr. K C Mundra or his son who are unknown to us as they come from a far away place ‘ Sumerpur’’ and are rarely seen in the ITAT proceedings. They were treated with deserving dignity by offering help and guidance in open court proceedings.
(vii) Perhaps they are enraged on their own professional ineptitude which became visible in open court proceedings, it requires self introspection and hard preparation of appeal; instead they have misdirected their self fury on the bench indiscriminately. Their own professional infirmities can be improved from their side by mending their unprofessional attitude. They cannot score brownie points by telling the world that they can get desired orders by threatening to harm judicial officers and their delinquent conduct is justified.
(viii) Mr. K C Moondra’s misadventure doesn’t stop here, camouflaging under the self proclaimed virtue of an RTI activist, motivated to bully the judicial officers, he deliberately filed various RTI applications asking for about 81 queries in respect of number of personal details about the judicial officers including their leave, HQ leaving permission, use of car, attendance in office, timings of holding courts, in whose case adjournments were granted or not granted, when officers go to Delhi, whom do they meet etc. etc. The above facts prove that RTI attack is not for any public purposes but to intimidate judicial officers, seized with his judicial matter. A trick to masquerade his blackmailing tactics for mean professional interest, to extract desired result in a sub-judice appeal. The RTI fiat unfolded by Mr. Moondra is an apparent colorable device, an attempt to influence/obstruct independent judicial process. The attempt amounts to a total misuse of professional position for dubious gains.
(ix) These acts amount to interfering and obstructing judicial process which apart from awarding of cost u/r 32A of ITAT rules is liable for appropriate contempt of court proceedings as well. Such attempts need to be seriously deplored, firmly tackled and suitably dealt with to send a message in professionals fraternity to behave properly and conduct themselves as ordained by ITAT rules and standing orders; court rules, ICAI instructions, professional ethics and etiquettes; Bar council of India guidelines in this behalf.
(x) In propriety they should have waited for the order to be pronounced instead of unfolding foul tactics to influence the pending judicial order. They started intimidating judicial officers to cover their professional inaptitude, misconduct and lapses. This type of intimidation amounts to interference in judicial proceedings which is emphatically forbidden to be exerted in direct or indirect manner.
(xi) It may be pertinent to mention that ld. Counsel Shri K C Moondra FCA and Mukul Moondra ACA, seem to be ignorant about filing a proper power of attorney, which is to be given on a NON JUDICIAL stamp paper. Whereas they have filed a plain printed paper with Rs. 10/- court fee stamp which is not a valid and prescribed power of attorney. Thus their appearance could have been lawfully denied by the bench. This again shows the lenient approach of the bench bellying his wild allegations. Furthermore the ICAI guidelines provide that every chartered accountant shall mention his registration no. on the power. Sadly both of them i.e. S/shri K C Moondra and Mukul Moondra have not mentioned their ICAI registration no. Making their power of attorney again defective, inadmissible and in violation of ICAI guidelines.
(xii) Under these facts and circumstances, we find that the ld. Counsel for the assessee Shri K.C. Moondra and his son Shri Mukul Moondra are liable for suitable proceedings for their professional misconduct, misbehavior, wasting the time of court and unlawfully attempting to interfere in the process of judicial dispensation.
(xiii) Considering all the facts, circumstances and material on record by invoking rule 32A of the ITAT Rules we hold that Shri K.C, Moondra and Shri Mukul Moondra are liable for levy of costs as prescribed by said rule 32A. Consequently, we impose cost of Rs. 25,000/- on Shri K.C. Moondra and Rs. 10,000/- on Shri Mukul Moondra for their delinquencies as mentioned above. Separate proposal under Contempt of Court Act will be duly forwarded to Hon’ble Rajasthan High Court. The cost is recoverable u/r 32A(2) of the ITAT Rules and shall be deposited in the ‘Prime Minister Relief Fund. Copy of this order to be sent by registry to Institute of Chartered Accountants of India to take appropriate disciplinary action against them in terms of ICAI rules and guidelines. The progress may be communicated to bench through registry.