Ahmedabad: Expressing doubts about his abduction claim, the Gujarat High Court on Thursday came down heavily on Patel quota spearhead Hardik Patel and warned him and his lawyer of contempt of court stating that they "misused" the court proceedings.
A division bench of Justices M R Shah and K J Thaker, hearing a haebeas corpus petition filed by Hardik's aide, said "no opinion is made about his illegal confinement" as prima facie the court is not satisfied with the allegations.
"Prima facie, it appears that it required (for Hardik) to substantiate the allegations (made by him that he was abducted). Prima facie, we are not satisfied with the allegations (of abduction)," the court said.
"If somebody tries to mislead the court proceedings, it cannot be tolerated or permitted. Nobody can take court proceedings for a ride. Looking at the seriousness of the matter, it is adjourned till September 29," said the court.
"We express no opinion at present whether the corpus (Hardik) was under illegal confinement of police or not. If there is any need of any action rpt action (against Hardik) , police may proceed as per law," it said in the order.
Hardik, who is spearheading the Patel community agitation for quota under OBC category, surfaced yesterday after his mysterious disapperance the previous night. He had claimed that he was abducted by "a person looking like a cop."
Earlier, his two aides Dinesh Patel and Ketan Patel had filed a habeas corpus plea through their lawyer B M Mangukia before the High Court alleging that the Patel leader was illegally confined by police.
The High Court, after hearing the plea, had asked the state government to find Hardik.
As Hardik resurfaced, Mangukia produced him before the High Court.
During the hearing of the case today, the High Court observed that the Patel leader and his advocate "misused" the court proceedings and warned them of contempt of court proceedings.
"Even before filing the habeas corpus petition, you went to the press, why suo motu cognisance for contempt of court should not be taken against you," the High Court told Mangukia.
"You have put the entire state machinery and the court at stake for one person. We have our own doubts about credentials of petitioners," the bench observed.
"We are not concerned with politics, we are only concerned with the prestige of the high court. The manner (in which) you addressed the media and corpus (Hardik) continuously gave statement before media that can be taken as contempt of court," the HC said taking strong exception to the petitioner approaching it saying his life is under threat but Hardik and advocate were making statements to the press.
"On forged allegations, the court was made to believe that someone's life is in danger. Later it was found that for some oblique reasons of process, court's proceeding was not used but misused," the high court observed.
The court also asked if the police protected Hardik, who appeared before the media from the place of his advocate, but was not arrested.
The high court said the hearing was taken up as urgency was demonstrated by the advocate saying the life of a person is in danger and therefore the court permitted the post-midnight hearing.
But when corpus was found yesterday, the advocate did not even bother to inform the high court about his appearance, it said.
The court later directed Hardik to give his statement which he wrote in Gujarati and narrated the entire incident of his alleged abduction.