The Supreme Court has dismissed two court masters for fearlessly meddling with its order and dissolving the summons to Reliance ADAG chairman Anil Ambani and some other officials over a contempt case filed against Reliance Communication by Ericsson.
On the plea of advocate Dushyant Dave on January 7, a bench of Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran had taken note of the alleged breach of undertaking given by Ambani and other officials of the group and asked them to be present in court. Requ-est by Ambani’s counsel Mukul Rohatgi and Kapil Sibal to exempt them from personal appearance was rejected.
However, the order uploaded on the SC website curiously conveyed that though notice had been issued to Ambani and others in the contempt petition filed by Ericsson, the alleged contemnors could mark their presence through their counsel. Dave had drawn Justice Nariman’s attention to this discrepancy between the order dictated in open court and the one uploaded on the SC website.
Noticing the glaring discrepancy, a furious Justice Nariman promised action. He sent a complaint to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who initiated an inquiry. SC sources said the complaint was followed by an internal inquiry and it was found that the two court masters had indeed tampered with the court order to dilute its rigour in summoning Ambani, Reliance Telecom chairman Satish Seth and Reliance Infratech chairperson Chhaya Virani.
Ambani and others later appeared before the court and remained present for two days till the bench headed by Justice Nariman completed hearing on the contempt petition filed by Ericsson.
Ericsson had accused Ambani and others of going back on the undertaking given to the court that they would pay Rs 550 crore to the Swedish telecom company. The SC had in its August 3, 2018, order recorded the undertaking and asked RCom to pay the amount to Ericsson. The court is yet to deliver its verdict in the contempt case .