|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.
If the professional appeared before the ITAT are erred they must be punished for their misconduct.
Hope that ICAI will take speedy action in the matter.
CA Goutam Baid
No doubt that this CA deserves to face consequences for what he did but the ITAT must also introspect as well.
Irrational & deplorable behavior by all the persons involved especially Ld. Members. There was no need to publicize the events. No doubt they could have filed contempt proposal with high court, but, there was no need to wash dirty linens in order u/s 254. Such members should be relieved from judicial duties immediately. Concerned CA must be dealt under criminal law by filing the FIR. I am sure ICAI won’t do anything except friendly “reprimand”. & members won’t get friendly “reprimand”. Such a disgrace to CA profession & judiciary
The conduct of the CAs is highly deplorable.Quite writely contempt of court action is taken and complaint is filed with ICAI.Institute will do the needful in order to maintain the nobelity of profession. It is however felt that this ugly episode should not have made public.Incidently on the same date Bombay High court in Madhukar B Thakur Case has held that such strictures be not made in order.
MOSTLY SO CALLED ‘PROFESSIONALS’ BEING NON AWARE OF LAWS OR RULE OF LAW MISBEHAVE with all judiciary.
SEEMS I C A I
All things aside, the order is a reader’s delight.
What tongue-lashing; what ostentatious display of vocabulary; it is all amazing.
I as much enjoyed reading it from its first word to the last as I would have enjoyed any book on classic English literature.
Laughable State of affairs. What would ICAI do any way, there has to be some Moral Authorities? Shouldnt there be? How about “Moral Aptitude Bill, 2015”? huh
The parent institute [ICAI] Should take this matter very seriously, and by passing ” OFFICE ADVISORY”
in that respect to avoid such kind of undue AND unwanted conflict with judiciary as they all ready running with hyper atmosphere.
Under which Guidelines did ICAI mention details relating to preparation of Power of Attorney.
with due respect to the members , picking holes in the validity of PoA for something like not writing Registration No besides the intemperate language and the wrath unleashed at the CAS speaks for itself
VERY GOOD WELL DRAFTED ORDER. THE JUDICIARY CANNOT BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED, WHOM-SO-EVER, INCLUDING THE SENIOR COUNSELS AND WHATEVER MAY BE HIS REPUTATION. FOLLOW THE PRESCRIBED PROCEDURE AND DECORUM.
There is no role of ICAI in the entire episode.The event is child of ego of members as well as of council. If members find it offensive they could have approached Highcourt for contempt petition and there was no need to make it public. While putting the utmost efforts in drafting the order for behaviour of the council the justice suffered pathetically. All the grounds have been dismissed without much detailed discussion and merely repeating lower authorities’ finding.
So far as POA is concerned, the same is valid and enforceable. Shortage in stamp duty would not make the content of the document as void.
Both CA and ITAT Members are at fault. It seems a clash of egos. The Members had no right to mention the matters of personal misbehaviour in the judicial order. It has made the order biased. They could have well referred the matter to High Court for contempt as well as to the CA Institute. They should not have used the judicial platform to express their wrath. Rather the members are at more fault. In the present system no one is above board and judicious. Whether we can call the ITAT order a judicious order.
First of all, I clarify that by my comments, I am not defending the professionals involved in this case in any way and strongly condemn their approach to the issue which could have been resolved amicably. However, the Hon’ble members appear to have left no stone unturned in digging out a flurry of choicest of words from the dictionary to express their wrath against the behavior of the professionals in their order. I personally feel that the act of making their displeasure public, itself smacks of bias on part of the Hon’ble members and suffers from personal egos on being challenged of their discriminating attitude in granting adjournments, more particularly when similar public displeasure on part of the professional on not being granted the adjournment was rejected and disliked by the Hon’ble members. Had they not expressed their wrath in the order, it would have appeared to be any other normal order. But by putting down their feelings in black and white in the body of the order has made it appear to be biased. I believe that the ‘holier than thou attitude’; is applicable to all human beings? The hon’ble members by blaming the same on the professionals involved have themselves been trapped in the same attitude by choosing to give vent their fury in the order. Do the Hon’ble members want to say that matters adjourned for final hearing have not been adjourned further in any of the cases before them? If the answer is NO then why so much fuss on an adjournment sought for on the date of final hearing in this case irrespective of the condemnable approach of the professionals. The members could have very well granted a short adjournment in the interest of justice instead of making it a matter of ego and false esteem by taking it as a challenge to their powers and pouring it all down in their order.
Why not filed a contempt petition before High Court ? the Hon’ble iTAT should do the needful in the light of the decision in the case of V K Agarwal v ITAT (SC). The ITAT is nothing but an extension of the judicial organ of the State.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court and other courts of law have regularly sounded a note of caution emphasizing a general principle of highest importance to the proper administration of justice that derogatory remarks ought not to be made against persons or authorities whose conduct comes into consideration unless it is absolutely necessary for the decision of the case to critically comment on their conduct. After all Sobriety and restraint in judicial conduct is of paramount importance.
I wish “let not the ego be a substitute to intellectual grace”. In my personal opinion, the observations of the Hon’ble members in the said order thus requires to be expunged from the order since they are not at all necessary for rendering their decision on merits of the issue. The Hon’ble Bombay high court in a recent decision in the case of Madhukar B. Thakoor vs. ITAT dated 22-04-2015 in Writ Petition No.1133 of 2014 has voiced the same concern.