This article examines a recent case where the plaintiff sought to hold
Defendant 1 accountable under Order XXXIX Rule 2A of the Code of Civil
Procedure, 1908 (CPC) for willfully disobeying a court order from July 8, 2021.
Defendant 1's defense centers around their claim of not receiving any summons or
notice related to the matter. This case also references the Supreme Court's
judgment in Food Corporation of India v. Sukh Deo Prasad (2009) 5 SCC 665, which
provides valuable insights into the principles governing willful disobedience in
Order XXXIX Rule 2A of the CPC:
Order XXXIX Rule 2A of the CPC empowers the courts to deal with cases of willful
disobedience of court orders. This provision serves as a crucial mechanism to
ensure that parties involved in legal proceedings adhere to the orders issued by
the court. The objective is to maintain the sanctity of court orders and uphold
the rule of law.
The Plaintiff's Allegation:
In the case at hand, the plaintiff alleges that Defendant 1 has willfully
disobeyed a court order issued on July 8, 2021. The plaintiff contends that
Defendant 1's actions or lack thereof have made them liable to be proceeded
against and punished under Order XXXIX Rule 2A of the CPC. To substantiate this
claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate that Defendant 1's disobedience was
willful and deliberate.
Defendant 1's Defense:
In response to the plaintiff's allegations, Defendant 1 asserts that they never
received any summons or notice related to the matter. This defense raises
questions about whether Defendant 1 had sufficient knowledge of the court order,
making it essential to establish whether their disobedience was truly willful.
If Defendant 1 did not receive proper notice, their actions might not constitute
willful disobedience but rather a lack of awareness of the court's directives.
The Precedent: Food Corporation of India Vs. Sukh Deo Prasad:
"The Supreme Court's judgment in Food Corporation of India v. Sukh Deo Prasad
(2009) 5 SCC 665 provides a guiding precedent on the issue of willful
disobedience in legal proceedings. This case emphasizes that the power exercised
under Order XXXIX Rule 2A of the CPC is similar to the power of civil contempt
under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. To establish willful disobedience, it
must be proven beyond any doubt."
The court in this case stressed that the power to punish for disobedience should
be exercised with great caution and responsibility. It explicitly noted that
there is no room for "surmises, suspicions, and inferences" while exercising
this power. This underscores the importance of clear and incontrovertible
evidence in establishing willful disobedience.
The Lack of Conclusive Proof:
Returning to the present case, it appears that Defendant 1's defense revolves
around the lack of conclusive proof that they were aware of and involved in the
activity related to the court order after the dissolution of the partnership on
May 28, 2019. Without clear and irrefutable evidence demonstrating their
association with the gym, it becomes challenging to establish willful
disobedience beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Concluding Note:
The case involving the plaintiff's allegations against Defendant 1 under Order
XXXIX Rule 2A of the CPC highlights the complex nature of willful disobedience
in legal proceedings. The principles laid down by the Supreme Court in Food
Corporation of India v. Sukh Deo Prasad underscore the need for a high standard
of proof to establish willful disobedience.
In this context, Defendant 1's defense, based on their claim of not receiving
summons or notice, adds a layer of complexity to the case, requiring a thorough
examination of the evidence. Ultimately, a clear determination of whether
Defendant 1's actions constitute willful disobedience will depend on the
strength of the evidence presented and the application of legal principles to
the specific facts of the case.
The Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: Cross Fit LLC Vs Mr.Renjith Kunnumal and another
Date of Judgement:09/10/2023
Case No. CS(COMM) 251/2021
Neutral Citation No:2023:DHC:7334
Name of Hon'ble Court: High Court of Delhi
Name of Hon'ble Judge: C Hari Shankar
Information and discussion contained herein is being shared in the public
Interest. The same should not be treated as substitute for expert advice as it
is subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception,
interpretation and presentation of the fact and issue involved herein.
Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman
, IP Adjutor - Patent and
Email: [email protected]
, Ph no: 9990389539