Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was pulled up by the Delhi high court making allegations of bias against a judge and seeking transfer of a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, saying it was "a frontal attack intended to humiliate the judge" and warned of invoking contempt proceedings.
A bench of justice Gita Mittal and justice PS Teji rejected pleas by Kumar and two convicts alleging bias by one member of the division bench which is hearing the case and said it was an "attempt to prevent hearings in these cases".
However, the bench decided not to initiate contempt proceedings or slapping penalties on Kumar and two others, saying it would only delay the proceedings in the case relating to incidents which happened 32 years ago.
In strongly worded observations, the bench said "the attempt to single out a judge and address judges constituting a bench by name and making personal allegations not supported by record against them are really a frontal attack intended to humiliate the judge concerned in public spaces and browbeat them giving in to illegally and improperly made demands and deserves to be condemned in highest tone."
While warning Kumar and convicts -- ex-MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokkar of contempt, the bench however said "we exercise restraint and desist from invoking our jurisdiction under the Contempt of Courts Act and also in not initiating penal action against the applicants as commended in above set out judicial precedents, only for the reason these cases brook no further delay.
"No digression, distraction or diversion by any other proceedings which could result in protraction of the hearings in the main appeals would be in the interests of justice. "Though strongly inclined to impose costs for dilatory tactics adopted by way of these applications, we refrain from doing only in the larger interests of justice which would be met by expeditious disposal of the cases."
The bench said the applications were "baseless and the apprehensions misconceived and malafide only intended to delay the hearings in these cases as well as connected appeals.
I find no merit in these applications which are hereby dismissed." It said "specific allegations are made against a judge conducting a case to embarrass him and compel him to recuse himself from hearing the case or transfer the case to another bench.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly mandated courts that such attacks should be seriously dealt with." The court also observed that failure to punish for "mass crimes" like the anti-Sikh riots created wounds which "fester" and "incurably infect society".