Chandigarh, June 4: A day after the Punjab and Haryana High Court in its order asserted that an alleged contemnor had pleaded innocence and claimed trial after he agreed that the charge was read over and explained to him, the Bench Thursday recalled the order saying it was an “inadvertent mistake”. The Bench also attributed the mistake to videoconferencing.

The alleged contemnor was not present before the Bench during the course of the hearing. But the order finalised and uploaded on the High Court website on June 3 asserted in question-answer form that the charge was read over and explained to him and his answer was in the affirmative, The Tribune reported.

Another question posed to the alleged contemnor was: “Whether you plead guilty or claim trial?” The order recorded his answer: “I do not plead guilty and claim trial.”

The case pertains to an employee of the subordinate judiciary, who uploaded videos on YouTube lambasting judicial officers and allegedly made statements in the media without previous sanction of the competent authority.

Harmeet Singh had initially joined Ludhiana sessions division as a clerk. He was posted at Jagraon due to administrative convenience, but allegedly kept exerting pressure to transfer him back to Ludhiana. 

The Bench had asserted it would be in the interest of justice, if proper charge was framed against him.

The recalling order today said: “The aforesaid order dated June 3 was passed presuming that the respondent would come present in person and the contents of the chargesheet would be read over and explained to him. On account of the prevailing pandemic, Covid-19, the presence of either the advocate or the respondent could not be ensured.”

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