More than a month after it issued a show-cause notice to a law student for recording court proceedings on his mobile phone, the Bombay High Court yesterday accepted his unconditional apology and let him off with a warning to be “more careful when dealing with court matters in future.”
Considering that Rahul Singh (26) was a law student and had never intended to interfere in the administration of justice, Justice R P Sondurbaldota withdrew the suo motu notice. She also noted that Singh had recorded the proceedings for his own “personal information” and nothing more. While the court instructed the Deputy Registrar (IT) to retain the memory card on which the 18-minute-long audio recording was saved, Singh’s mobile phone and SIM card will be returned to him soon.
In his affidavit, Rahul said, “I have innocently recorded the audio file without any intention [to interfere with judicial proceedings or administration of justice.] I regret my action and assure this Hon’ble court that such act will never be repeated again… I tender my unconditional apology and request this Hon’ble court to pardon this act… I have no justification other than my innocence.”
Rahul added he had recorded the proceedings out of curiosity and for his own knowledge and information, without any mala fide intention or motive. Even as Justice Sondurbaldota was dictating the order, another mobile phone rang in the court but it was ignored.
On September 28, Justice Shahrukh Kathawalla had issued the notice after a court associate caught Singh recording the arguments of senior advocate Venkatesh Dhond. Dhond was appearing in a property case against Singh’s brother, advocate Rajesh Singh.
Rahul, a first year law student, had only recently started learning the ropes alongside his brother. Kathawalla had then observed, “Audio recording of court proceedings by any individual amounts to interference with judicial proceedings and administration of justice.”