A routine bail hearing assumed importance touching on the independence of the judiciary on Monday after the Gujarat High Court Judge hearing the plea divulged that she had received a call on her mobile phone with enquiries regarding the case.
Justice Bela M Trivedi detailed the unprecedented incident in her June 22 order, which is stated to have taken place around 8.55 am that day.
As recorded in the order, Justice Trivedi received a call from an unknown caller, who introduced himself as Niranjan Patel, MLA, Petlad. When enquired why he was calling, the caller mentioned to the judge that a criminal case was listed before the Court that day.
The Judge states that the mention of a case immediately prompted her to cut short the caller, tell him that he cannot call the judge like this and disconnect the call.
Three calls made by the same unknown caller, one after the other were left unanswered. However, this led to a message being sent around 9 am, stating the details of the criminal case fixed for hearing that day.
Disturbed and furious over the calls, the judge requested the Registrar (IT) of the High Court to inquire into the mobile number of the unknown caller. On Truecaller, the number was found to have belonged to "Tosif Faiz Xerox”, on Vodafone connection.
During the hearing on Monday, the lawyer appearing for the bail applicant in the particular case mentioned told the Court that his client had no connection with "Mr Niranjan Patel."
Rather, Advocate Ashish M Dagli stated that Patel was interested in getting his client arrested, alleging that Patel had also approached the police to ensure his client's arrest.
The Judge proceeded to order further inquiry by the Registrar (IT) into the caller's details, observing that,
"Since, nobody can directly or indirectly try to approach the Court or to influence the Court, in a way try to pollute the stream of justice, it is necessary to obtain the details of the call."
Gujarat High Court
When the matter was taken up today, the Court was informed that the number had been ported to a Jio service and that the given name of the subscribed was Tofikbhai Vhora, son of Salimbhai Vhora.
Appearing for the bail applicant whose case was mentioned by the caller, Advocate Dagli told the Court that his client does not know of any such person either.
On its part, the Court observed that the identity of the caller had to be discerned before contempt proceedings can be initiated.