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The Contempt Of Court

What Is Contempt Of Court?

It is the offence of being disobedient to or disrespectful towards the court of law and its officers in the form of behavior that opposes or defies the authority, justice and dignity of the court. High court and Supreme Court are bestowed with the power to punish. The Act of 1971 allows the High Court to punish for the contempt of subordinate courts.

But Articles 129 and 215 gives the power of contempt of court to the higher judiciary and this power limits the freedom granted by Article 19(1)(a) which gives the right of freedom of speech and expression to all the citizens.

The power to punish for the contempt is specifically provided, with the caveat that Parliament may legislate on how it is to be investigated and punished. As with powers under Article 142, Supreme Court has routinely described its power to punish for contempt as being in exercise of its 'inherent jurisdiction.' This draws from the common-law doctrine that courts that record their orders are enabled to punish person for not complying with them.

However, as Dr. B. R. Ambedkar observed that SC is a creature of the Constitution and powers to punish for contempt are provided for, specifically because they are not, in fact, inherent.

Essentials Of Contempt Of Court
If a person named Akash has to prove that the other person named Sita is guilty of committing an act which is an offence in a court of law. Then he has to show the court that the offence which Sita has done is fulfilling the essential required to commit that act or not. If the essentials of that will be fulfilled then he will be liable for that act. Similarly, every offence has certain exceptions that has to be fulfilled for making the person liable for doing that act.

Contempt of Court also has certain essentials and these are as follows:

  1. Disobedience to any type of court proceedings, its orders, judgment, decree, etc. should be done 'willfully' in case of Civil Contempt.
  2. In Criminal Contempt 'publication' is the most important thing and this publication can be either spoken or written, or by words, or by signs, or by visible representation.
  3. The court should make a 'valid order' and this order should be in 'knowledge' of the respondent.
  4. The action of contemnor should be deliberate and also it should be clearly disregard of the court's order.

The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 and the Rules framed by the High Court do not provide for intervention by the third parties. The provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure as to addition of parties do not arise in the contempt matter which is entirely between the Court and the contemnor. If other persons or third parties are allowed to intervene in the proceedings, then it will seriously affect the contempt proceedings.

The presence of the interveners in a given situation may lead to the generation of heat as well as arming for and the against the condemners with lethal weapons which would make the Court involved more than what it is necessary in exercise of its jurisdiction under the contempt Courts Act.
There are two types of contempt civil and criminal.

Section 2(b) - civil contempt means willful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or willful breach of an undertaking given to a court;
Utpal Kumar Das v. Court of the Munsiff, Kamrup
This is the case of non-rendering of assistance, although the court has ordered to render assistance. Decree executed by the court to deliver immovable property but because of certain obstruction, the defendant failed to do so. Hence, he was held liable for constituting disobedience to the orders of the competent Civil Court.

Another case is on the breach of an undertaking which leads to Contempt of Court.

U.P. Resi. Emp. Co-op., House B. Society v. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority
In this case, the Supreme Court has directed the Noida Authorities to verify and state on the affidavit details given by persons for allotment of plots. In pursuance to the same direction by the Supreme Court a person Mr. S filed a false affidavit to mislead the court. The Registry directed a show-cause notice against him to say that why an act of contempt should not be taken against him for misleading the Supreme Court.

Defenses to Civil Contempt

A person who is accused of Civil Contempt of case can take the following defenses:
Lack of Knowledge of the order: A person cannot be held liable for Contempt of Court if he does not know the order given by the court or he claims to be unaware of the order. There is a duty binding on the successful party by the courts that the order that has passed should be served to the Individual by the post or personally or through the certified copy. It can be successfully pleaded by the contemnor that the certified copy of the order was not formally served to him.

The disobedience or the breach done should not be : If someone is pleading under this defense then he can say that the act done by him was not done willfully, it was just a mere accident or he/she can say that it is beyond their control. But this plead can only be successful if it found to be reasonable otherwise your plead can be discarded.

The order that has disobeyed should be vague or ambiguous: If the order passed by the court is vague or ambiguous or this order is not specific or complete in itself then a person can get the defense of contempt if he says something against that order. In R.N. Ramaul v. State of Himachal Pradesh, this defense has been taken by the respondent.

In this case, the Supreme Court has directed the corporation of the respondent to restore the promotion of the petitioner from a particular date in the service. But the respondent has not produced the monetary benefit for the given period and a complaint was filed against him for Contempt of Court. He pleads for the defense on the given evidence that it has not mentioned by the court in order to pay the monetary benefit. Finally, he gets the defense.

Orders involve more than one reasonable interpretation: If the contempt of any order declared by the court and the order seems to be given more than one reasonable and rational interpretation and the respondent adopts one of those interpretations and works in accordance with that then he will not be liable for Contempt of Court.

Command of the order is impossible: If compliance of the order is impossible or it cannot be done easily then it would be taken as a defense in the case of Contempt of Court. However, one should differentiate the case of impossibility with the case of mere difficulties. Because this defense can be given only in the case of the impossibility of doing an order.

Section 2(c) - criminal contempt means the publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which:
  1. Scandalizes or tends to scandalize, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court;
  2. prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with, the due course of any judicial proceeding;
  3. interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner;

Jaswant Singh v. Virender Singh
In this case an advocate caste derogatory and scandalous attack on the judge of the High Court. An application was filed an election petitioner in the High Court, who was an advocate. He wanted to seek to stay for further arguments in an election petition and also the transfer of election petitions. These things cause an attack on the judicial proceeding of the High Court and had the tendency to scandalize the Court. It was held in this case that it was an attempt to intimidate the judge of the High Court and cause an interface in the conduct of a fair trial.
Opinion of Lord Dennings in the case R vs. Commissioner of Police 1968

In this case Lord Dennings said that the contempt of the court is neither used to upheld the dignity of the Judiciary nor to criticize the opponent party who holds different opinion which contradicts the verdict. Because he believes that it is the duty of the Judge to not to reply to the criticism directly to the public so as to prevent the controversies of public. So when judges feels any contempt they do respond to it not by straight replying to it but through conduct or in the decision, so that the people gets their answer indirectly.

Section 11 - Power of High Court to try offences committed or offenders found outside jurisdiction A High Court shall have jurisdiction to inquire into or try a contempt of itself or of any court subordinate to it, whether the contempt is alleged to have been committed within or outside the local limits the local limits of its jurisdiction, and whether the person alleged to be guilty of contempt is within or outside such limits.

This section expands the ambit of the authority beyond what was till then considered to be possible but it does not confer a new jurisdiction. It merely widens the scope of our existing jurisdiction of a very special kind

State of Uttar Pradesh v. Radhey Shyam, 1983 Cr LJ 1153 (1162).
Bhola Dutt Joshi in Sessions Trial No. A 448 of 1974. was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for life on being found guilty of having committed the murder of his minor daughter said to seven years' rigorous imprisonment under Section 307, I.P.C. for the attempt-fed murder of his wife. While he was lodged in the Central Jail. Bareilly, serious disturbance occurred which led to firing resulting in the death of some prisoners and injuries to some others.

Joshi along with some others was transferred to the Central Jail, Naini, on 20-1-1982. On July 8. 1982. a habeas corpus petition by Bhola Dutt Joshi was presented in this Court. It was alleged that the petitioner was being illegally kept in solitary confinement and in iron fetters. This petition did not come to this Court through jail authorities.

The Court took cognizance of the case and directed issue of notice to Radhey Shyam Tripathi. Superintendent, Central Jail, Naini, who was impleaded as a respondent to the petition. A counter affidavit on behalf of the respondent sworn by Paras Nath Srivastava Jailor. Central Jail Naini was filed on 30-8-1982, a copy of which was served on Joshi who was granted time to file a rejoinder affidavit and the case was directed to be listed on 16-9-1982.

On that date an application was made by Joshi alleging that he was asked to write out his reply in the office of the Superintendent, Central Jail. Naini, as directed by him which the petitioner refused to accept. He was then warned and threatened with dire consequences after the writ petition was disposed of. It was further alleged that Charles Sobhraj, who had drafted his habeas corpus petition, was also subjected to torture.

A grievance was also made that the petitioner was not being supplied with pen and paper to write out his reply. A prayer was made for making suitable arrangement for his safety and that after the disposal of the petition he may be transferred to sortie other Central Jail The Court on that very date directed that writing facility be made available to the petitioner in Court.

The petitioner wrote out his reply. A prayer was also appended to the effect. that since the jail authorities were threatening him with dire consequences, he may be transferred to some other jail and a direction be issued for his safety, a copy of the reply was served on the Government Advocate. The matter was listed in Court on 30-9-1982, but could not be taken up for hearing.

The habeas corpus petition came up for hearing before us on 20-10-1982. The record contained an application of Bhola Dutt Joshi, dated 9-10-1982, which was forwarded to this Court through the jail authorities. It was stated in the application that the petitioner had no grievance and the habeas corpus petition had been moved under a mistake and was wrong for which he wanted to be excused and that he did not want to press that petition as he was now suffering no inconvenience in the Central Jail, Naini.

A prayer was made that the petition be allowed to be withdrawn. The detenu was present in Court and when asked whether he had made the application for withdrawing the petition, he narrated the. circumstances under which he was compelled to make the application. We directed Joshi to give his statement in writing. Writing material was made available to him.

The substance of that statement is that on 1-10-1982. at about 7.00 P. M. while he was engaged in Puja the lock of his cell was opened and seven-eight Pakkas along with the Head Warder Ram Nidh entered the cell. He was asked to come out as the Saheb was waiting for him. When he requested that he be permitted to complete his Puja, he was asked to hurry up and that his Puja would be done before the Superintendent.

He was brought to the office of the Jailor where the Superintendent Sri Radhey Shyam Tripathi and the Assistant Jailor Sri Surya Mani Chaube and other officers, whose names he did not know, were present. There he was asked by the Superintendent whether he had filed a writ petition in the High Court and on his answering in the affirmative he was asked why it had been filed.

The petitioner replied that he had requested him on a couple of occasions that he may not be kept in solitary confinement and that his fetters be removed but no heed was paid to his request which compelled him to seek protection of Court. The Superintendent then retorted that you get relief from the Court and added that the function of the Court was to punish and it was their job to see how the sentence was carried out.

The petitioner replied that the Court punishes under the law and the sentence should also be carried out in, accordance with law. This infuriated the Superintendent who burst out hurling abuses and then directed the Pakkas to throw him down who immediately did so and started hitting on the inner part of his feet.

After 20-25 blows had been inflicted the Superintendent again enquired whether he had come to his senses and asked him to disclose the name of the person who had taken out the writ petition to which he replied that it was done by a warder. The Superintendent did not believe and again hurled abuses on him and directed the Pakkas to shoe beat him which direction was also carried out. He was again threatened to disclose the name. Since he remained silent, the Superintendent directed that his beard and moustache be plucked which was carried out by the Pakkas, On his refusal to disclose the name, the Superintendent directed that he be put in fetters and kept in the mental ward.

Fetters were put on the petitioner and he was lodged in cell No. 27 of the Pagalkhana. About ten minutes later Surya Mani Chaube came there and he was asked to put off his clothes. On the direction of the Jailor he was thrown on the ground, a Pakka sat on his back and another one on his knees and chilly water was injected in his anus which made him shriek and shout in pain His mouth was closed and he felt suffocated. He was again asked the same question and he reiterated his answer which did not satisfy the Jailor.

His hands were extended beyond the iron bars of the cell and handcuff was put. When he stated that he would put an end to his life, the Jailor replied that he would just cut a bar and only one Government cartridge would be spent and it would be given out that he was trying to escape. He was reminded' that even the place from where he had been transferred five prisoners had been shot dead and nothing happened and the same Superintendent was still on duty in that jail.

The petitioner spent the night in that condition and could not get even a wink of sleep. Even water was denied to him by the man on duty. On 2-10-1982, the Superintendent again asked him if he, had come to his senses. On the request of the petitioner to set him free, the Jailor agreed to remove the handcuff if he withdraw his writ petition.

The petitioner agreed to do so hoping that when he would appear in Court on 20-10-1982, he would tell the correct facts to the Court. The handcuffs were removed and the orderly was asked to bring papers which he did and the petitioner appended his signatures on two sheets. He was again put behind bars. Before he could get sleep, a barber prisoner came there and asked him to get shaved as directed by the Jailor.

The petitioner stated that death anniversary of his father was in December and he would not get himself shaved before that date when he had remained unshaven for ten months. The barber went back but five minutes later the Jailor with his party appeared and asked the petitioner to get himself shaved which he unwillingly did.

He was, however, refused permission to have bath. On 9th October the Jailor visited him again and asked him to withdraw the writ petition promising that he would be given all facilities. When' the petitioner replied that his signatures had already been taken on two papers. he was asked to write the application in his own hand which he unwillingly agreed to do and thereafter he was supplied with a set of clothes, soap, toothpaste etc. He was then taken to the office of the Jailor and he wrote out what the Jailor dictated.

After perusing the statement of Joshi the Court directed that he be medically examined which was done the same day by the Medical Officer on emergency duty in the Tej Bahadur Sapru Hospital. The Court also issued direction that the petitioner be not sent back to the Central Jail Naini and suitable arrangement be made for his custody during the night of 20-10-1982.

Next day on being prima facie satisfied that the acts attributed to Radhey Shvam Tripathi and Surya Mani Chaube amounted to criminal contempt the Court directed notices to be issued to the respondents to show cause why they be not punished for contempt of court. The notices were served on them in Court, A copy of the statement of Joshi was also handed over to them.

The condemners filed almost identical counter affidavits. In the earlier part of their affidavits they have disclosed in detail the facts of the case leading up to the conviction of Joshi and his movements from one jail to another and his activities in the jails where he was lodged. It has been alleged that Bhola Dutt Joshi was one of the leaders who organized a union of the prisoners in the Central Jail. Bareily. of which he was elected Secretary.

He also organized revolt during the months of November and December 1981 creating serious disturbances and unrest in the jail. On 19-1-1982 Joshi with some of his close associates led a large number of convicts in an attempt to break open the jail and escaped. In order to quell this attempt the jail staff had to resort to firing which resulted in the death of some prisoners and many others received injuries. He was then transferred in fetters to the Central jail. Naini.

His conduct remained in disciplined and unruly. Here he came in contact with Charles Sobhrai who too had been transferred to Naini Central Jail after having been confined in various jails in India. Charles Sobhrai is undergoing sentence of imprisonment for life having been convicted and sentenced for a murder alleged to have been committed by him at Varanasi, Charles Sobhrai has his criminal history of distinction which has won him international notoriety. Joshi and Charles Sobhrai happened to be confined in the same circle i.e. circle No. 1.

One Shivpal Singh, who was also transferred from Bareilly tail with Joshi. was also confined in that circle. The condemners totally denied the correctness of the statement of Joshi given in Court. It was asserted that they neither questioned him about the writ petition nor he was punished or tortured in any manner whatsoever.

Fetters of Joshi were finally removed on August 23. 1982. Orders for his transfer to Central Jail, Varanasi, had been received on 31-8-1982, but he could not be immediately transferred because of the pendency of the habeas corpus petition in this Court. it has been averred that the condemners have no reason to be annoyed with Joshi on account of the writ petition filed by him nor have they any personal animus against him.

It was alleged that Bhola Dutt Joshi in collusion with Charles Sobhrai hit upon a plan that an application for withdrawal of the writ petition be moved and on the date of hearing make wild and false allegations against the jail authorities in order to browbeat the administration and strike awe in them so that Bhola Dutt Joshi may have his own way in any jail where he may be confined. It was a preplanned scheme concocted by Joshi very likely in collusion with Charles Sobhraj. Tripathi denied that he ever visited circle No. 1 on October 1, 1982.

By our order dated October 22, 1982, we directed the District Judge Allahabad, to enquire and submit a report in respect of the complaint made by Bhola Dutt Joshi. a copy of which was handed over to him. The District Judge visited the jail, made enquiries and submitted his report which was directed to be placed on record by our order dated 25-11-1982. We also directed that a copy of this report shall be supplied to the learned Counsel for the parties and the condemners were granted time to file replies. The condemners have filed supplementary counter affidavit.

The District Judge in his report mentions that Joshi was admitted in Naini Central Jail on 20-1-1982 and kept in the condemned cell. He continued to be under fetters till April 15, 1982. He was again kept in fetters on April 18, 1982. because of complaint of indiscipline and remained under fetters till July 21, 1982. He again showed some signs of indiscipline according to the jail authorities and was again kept under fetters which were, however, removed on 23-8-1982.

The jail registers indicated that Bhola Dutt Joshi was found in league with Charles' Sobhrai and both of them are said to have induced the other convicts for revolt He was severely warned by way of punishment and kept separate from Charles Sobhraj. The learned District Judge further reports that the writ petition of Bhola Dutt Joshi was prepared by Charles Sobhrai and was smuggled out of the jail.

When the jail authorities became aware of the situation, they wanted to know as to which of the officials of the jail administration helped Bhola Dutt joshi to send the writ petition to the High Court. He was shifted to circle No 1 on 1-10-1982 which was meant for insane persons. There were sixteen convicts lodged in circle No. I. They were all contacted separately. Most of them talked non-sense. Their expressions were incoherent. Nothing could come out of their talks.

We are conscious of the principle governing punishment for contempt of court. The respondents deliberately interfered in a judicial proceeding and obstructed the administration of justice. The actions that they took were brutal and inhuman. A sentence of mere fine would not meet the ends of justice.

The respondents Radhey Shyam Tripathi and Surya Mani Chaube are held guilty of criminal contempt of this Court and sentenced to simple imprisonment for one week and a fine of Rupees 500/- each. The fine shall be paid within one week from today. In default of payment of fine they shall undergo further simple imprisonment for a period of one week.

Section 12 - Punishment for contempt of court

  • Save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act or in any other law, a contempt of court may be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both: Provided that the accused may be discharged or the punishment awarded may be remitted on apology being made to the satisfaction of the court.
  • Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, no court shall impose a sentence in excess of that specified in sub-section (1) for any contempt either in respect of itself or of a court subordinate to it.
  • Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, where a person is found guilty of a civil contempt, the court, if it considers that a fine will not meet the ends of justice and that a sentence of imprisonment is necessary shall, instead of sentencing him to simple imprisonment, direct that he be detained in a civil prison for such period not exceeding six months as it may think fit.
  • Where the person found guilty of contempt of court in respect of any undertaking given to a court is a company, every person who, at the time the contempt was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the contempt and the punishment may be enforced, with the leave of the court, by the detention in civil prison of each such person: Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to such punishment if he proves that the contempt was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent its commission.
  • Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (4), where the contempt of court referred to therein has been committed by a company and it is proved that the contempt has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of the contempt and the punishment may be enforced, with the leave of the court, by the detention in civil prison of such director, manager, secretary or other officer.

  • Some principles given by different court to be considered:

    The Kerala High Court in Advocate General, Kerala v. K. Ram Kumar 1986 Cr LJ 60 laid down the following principle to be borne in mind in contempt proceedings and the circumstances in which the Court could punish a person for having committed contempt:
    "The jurisdiction in contempt should not be invoked unless there is real prejudice which can be regarded as substantial interference with due course of justice and the purpose of the court's action is a practical purpose. The jurisdiction will not be exercised upon mere question of propriety. It should be exercised sparingly, consciously, wisely and with circumspection and only in exceptional cases."

    Power to penalize an officer of the Court should be exercises in those cases where the order is deliberately not obeyed or compliance is not made. This power has not to be used to terrorize the officials. Use the power for the said purpose would demoralize the officers and this could not be forgotten inasmuch as instead of achieving the object, it will result in defeating the same.

    In S. Mulgaokar AIR 1978 SC 727 Krishna Iyer, J. laid down the following guidelines in considering whether punitive action should be taken or not:
    "The court should not be hypersensitive even where distortions and criticisms overstep the limits, but to deflate vulgar denunciation by dignified bearing, condescending indifference and repudiation by judicial rectitude.

    After evaluating the totality of factors, if the court considers the complaint to be offensive or malicious, the strong words of the law must in the name of public interest and public justice, strike a blow on whom who challenges the supremacy of the rule of law."

    Section 15 - Cognizance of criminal contempt in other cases

    1. In the case of a criminal contempt, other than a contempt referred to in Section 14, the Supreme Court or the High Court may take action on its own motion or on a motion made by:
      1. the Advocate-General, or
      2. any other person, with the consent in writing of the Advocate-General,
      3. in relation to the High Court for the Union territory of Delhi, such Law Officer as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf, or any other person, with the consent in writing of such Law Officer.
    2. In the case of any criminal contempt of a subordinate court, the High Court may take action on a reference made to it by the subordinate court on a motion made by the Advocate-General or, in relation to a Union territory, by such Law Officer as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf.
    3. Every motion or reference made under this section shall specify the contempt of which the person charged is alleged to be guilty.

    Hence, if a private person intends to bring the proceedings of criminal contempt in motion, he must seek approval of the Advocate-General* to do so. However, in an event of denial by the AG to grant consent, the law does not leave one handicapped. In such an event, resort could be to approach the Court itself and urge for suo moto action.

    This legal position was reaffirmed by Justice Arun Mishra in Prashant Bhushan, In re, (2021) 1 SCC 745:
    "� as far as the suo moto petitions are concerned, there is no requirement for taking consent of anybody, including the learned Attorney General because the Court is exercising its inherent powers to issue a notice for contempt. It is equally well settled, that once the Court takes cognizance, the matter is purely between the Court and the contemnor. The only requirement is that the procedure followed is required to be just and fair and in accordance with the principles of natural justice. �"

    A contempt petition will be maintainable if the wife has made false remarks and false averment to mislead the Hon'ble Court. few pointers are explained hereinafter. The Complainant (spouse) has willfully made false statements knowing it to be false. It is submitted that the Complainant has not come to the Hon'ble court with clean hands and have tried every trick in the book to secure a favorable order from this Hon'ble Court.

    That the false claims of the Complainant are not supported by evidence. Thus making the respondent guilty of offence of giving false declarations. That the applicant states that the Complainant are guilty of the act of contempt by making false statements, willfully and knowingly that those statements are false and submitted by them in this Hon'ble court with oblique motive to misguide and mislead this Hon'ble court.

    It is stated that the material on record before this Hon'ble Court prima facie proves that the respondent has committed the act of contempt in their submissions and the same has been described in detail. Allegations preferred being false, baseless, vexatious, imaginary and hence a prima facie case against the Complainant is clearly made so as to summon the Complainant to face judicial proceedings for perjury and it amounts to abuse of the process of Hon'ble court.

    That Hon'ble High Court in Gurbinder Singh Versus Manjit Kaur, held that:
    4. I, therefore, hold the respondent guilty of contempt and a fine of Rs.10,000/- is imposed on her.

    In Mukesh Kumar Gupta Vs. Rajneesh Gupta, Ld. ADJ Dr. Kamini Lau held:
    Further, no litigant has a right to unlimited drought upon the court time and public money and easy access to justice cannot be used as a license to file misconceived and frivolous petitions. Suppression and Concealment of material facts is impermissible to a litigant or even as a technique of Advocacy.

    In High Court on its own motion Versus Shri Dattatray Narayan Samant, Hon'ble Bombay High Court held: 30.

    Accordingly, we proceed to pass the following order:

    1. We hold that respondents / condemners are guilty of having committed criminal contempt within the meaning of Section 2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971;
    2. We impose punishment of four months of simple imprisonment with a fine of Rs.2,000/- to each of the condemners. The order of punishment and fine, however, shall remain in abeyance initially for a period of four weeks from today to enable the condemners to file affidavit of apology and to unconditionally withdraw the offending allegations made by them against the learned Judge and to undertake to observe restraint in future.

    Relevant Judgements
    Noorali Babul Thanewala vs K.M.M. Shetty And Ors on 20 December, 1989
    The Petitioner-landlord filed a suit No. 213 of 1970 for eviction against the first respondent and four others in the court of Civil Judge, Senior Division, Thane. The suit was decreed by the Trial Court. The first respondent alone filed an appeal before the District Court. The appeal was dismissed confirming the eviction. Thereafter the first respondent filed a Writ Petition in the High Court of Bombay which was also dismissed.

    The first respondent then filed Civil Appeal No. 2628 of 1980 in this Court which was dismissed by this Court on 18.8.1987. However at the request of the appellant this Court had allowed him to continue to be in possession and carry on the business till 31.3.89 subject to the appellant and all his employees in the business filing an usual undertaking in the Court that they will hand over and deliver vacant possession of the premises on the expiry of the period mentioned above and will go on depositing the mense profits until possession is delivered.

    In pursuance of this order an undertaking was filed by the first respondent as also by persons shown as his employees and staying in the premises Sometime in the beginning of 1989 one Raghuram A. Shetty Second respondent in this Petition filed Civil Suit No. 30 of 1989 in the Thane Civil Court for a declaration that the decree for eviction obtained in respect of the premises in question in civil suit No. 213 of 1970 cannot be executed against him and for a permanent injunction against the Petitioner herein.

    He also moved an application for a temporary injunction from executing the said decree. The Thane Civil Court granted a temporary injunction as prayed. That is how the Petitioner herein filed this contempt petition both against the original tenant K.M.M. Shetty and the second respondent the Plaintiff in Civil Suit No. 306 of 1989. After discussing in detail the various developments of the case 562 brought about by the first respondent as well as by the 2nd respondent herein, this Court directed that the order granting injunction against the Petitioner from executing the eviction decree against the 2nd respondent shall not be operative and that the Petitioner is entitled to execute the decree for eviction against all persons who are in possession of the property.

    While holding the first respondent guilty of committing contempt by willful disobedience of the undertaking given by him in this court, the Court.

    In the foregoing circumstances, we find the first respondent guilty of committing contempt by willful disobedience of the undertaking given by him in this Court and accordingly we convict him and sentence him to pay a fine of Rs.500 within the period of four weeks, failing which he shall suffer simple imprisonment for one month, and also direct him to deliver vacant possession of the premises forthwith to the petitioner to the extent possible by him.

    We further direct the District Magistrate, Thane, to evict all those who are in physical possession of the property including the 2nd respondent and his men and if necessary with police help and give vacant possession of the premises to the petitioner forthwith. However, we discharge the rule issued against the second respondent.

    C.P. Singh vs State Of Rajasthan on 5 May, 1992

    This appeal under Section 19 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 has been preferred by C. P. Singh posted as the Deputy Registrar (Judicial) in the Jaipur Branch of Rajasthan High Court against the order of the learned single Judge dated 21-4-1992 holding him to be guilty of contempt of this Court's order dated 10th March, 1992.

    S. B. Civil Writ Petition No. 1500/81 T. C. Jain v. Rajasthan Housing Board was listed for hearing before Hon'ble Mr. Justice N. C. Kochhar on 10th March, 1992. On that date learned Judge passed the order for listing it along with S. B. Civil Writ Petition No. 1953/81. Both the writ petitions were listed on 23rd March, 1992 before Mr. Justice M. R. Calla, J. but they did not reach hence were not taken up.

    As per order dated 10th March, 1992 both the writ petitions should have been listed together again on the next date but on 8th April, 1992 W.P. No. 1500/81 was listed before Hon'ble Mr. N. C. Sharma, J. whereas W.P. No. 1953/81 was listed before Hon'ble Mr. V. K. Singhal, J. Writ Petition No. 1953/81 listed before Hon'ble Mr. V. K. Singhal, J. was heard and reserved on that date whereas W.P. No. 1500/81 could not be taken up. On the next date when W.P. No. 1500/81 was listed before Hon'ble Mr. Sharma, J. he found that the order dated 10th March, 1992 has not complied with as W.P. No. 1953/81 was listed in isolation and was heard by Hon'ble Mr. Singhal, J. on 8th April, 1992.

    Finding that C. P. Singh, Dy. Registrar was guilty of contempt Hon'ble Mr. Sharma, J. issued a notice to him for explaining as to why action was not taken against him for noncompliance of the Court's order dated 10th March, 1992. C. P. Singh, Dy. Registrar, submitted his explanation pointing out that the work of listing cases had been assigned to the Asstt. Registrar and that he did not flout the Court's order.

    For the mistake alleged he, however, rendered unconditional apology. This apology was accepted and the following order was passed:
    "While holding him guilty of contempt, 1 accept the unconditional apology, rendered by him, and on account of that I purge the contempt."

    Even an apology tendered after committing contempt does not justify its acceptance as observed by the Supreme Court in L. D. Jaikwal v. State of U.P. However, the question in this appeal is whether C. P. Singh, Dy. Registrar be held guilty of contempt? The contempt power is discretionary. By the order dated 10th March, 1992 the learned Judge wanted that W.P. No. 1500/81 be listed along with W.P. No. 1953/ 81.

    That order was complied with and both the writ petitions were listed together before Hon'ble Mr. M. R. Calla, J. on 23rd March, 1992 but they were not taken up. On the next date they should have been listed together but unfortunately it did not happen. For this act C. P. Singh has been held guilty of contempt by the learned Judge.

    In the instant case the Dy. Registrar did not flout the order of this Court dated 10th March, 1992 by not listing W.P. No. 1500/81 and W.P. No. 1953/81 together. They were in fact listed together before Hon'ble Mr. Calla, J. on 23rd March, 1992 but they could not take up and adjourned. On the next date Hon'ble Mr. Singhal, J. heard the arguments of one of them and reserved judgment. Obviously he did not think it necessary that both the cases should be disposed of together. In this circumstances the Dy. Registrar could not held to be guilty of contempt.

    Amar Bahadursingh S/O ... vs V.P.D. Wasnik And Others on 13 September, 1993
    The petitioner Amar Bahadur Singh - a teacher working in Lokmanaya Tilak Rashtriya Vidyalaya. Tumsar run by the Education Society, has filed the instant contempt petition against the respondents. However, according to the prayer, the petitioner sought action against the respondent No. 1 (Shri T. D. Wasnik), who was the Education Officer (Secondary) at the relevant time.

    The petitioner Shri A. B. Singh, since 1960 working as a teacher in Lokmanaya Tilak Rashtriya Vidyalaya, Tumsar. He was promoted as a Head Master in 1968. Thus, since 1968, he is working as Head Master of the said School, run by the Education Society, Tumsar, i.e. the respondent No. 4. According to the petitioner the respondent No. 1, the Education Officer has passed an order on 25th of October 1991 determining the date of birth of the present petitioner on the basis that he was born on 21-9-1930 and conveyed the same to the Managing Committee of the School, accepting the contents of Shri Kisan s/o Sitaram Karemore of Tumsar vide his complaint dt. 12-9-91. By his communication the respondent No. 1, resulted in the premature retirement of the petitioner w.e.f. 30-9-90. According to the petitioner his real date of birth is 30-6-34. The respondent No. 1, Education Officer, further directed the Head Master/Secretary as also to the President and Vice-President of the said School and Education Society to deduct or/and recover the payment and other emoluments paid to Mr. Singh with effect from 1-10-1990 and also directed to send compliance report accordingly.

    Being aggrieved by the order passed by the Education Officer i.e. the respondent No. 1 the petitioner filed Civil Suit No. 342/1991 in the Court of Civil Judge, Sr. Dn., Bhandara challenging the order dt. 25-10-91 passed by the respondent No. 1. The petitioner also moved an application under order 39, Rules 1 and 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure for grant of temporary injunction restraining the defendants i.e. the State of Maharashtra and Education Officer, Zilla Parishad, Bhandara from giving operation to the order passed by the respondent No. 1.

    The defendants being the Government Officers, no ex parte order was passed on the application presented under order 39, Rules 1 and 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The management filed an application through its President Kisan Karemore, before the Civil Judge, Sr. Dn., Bhandara as intervener and he was allowed to join as deft. No. 4. After hearing the parties, the learned trial Judge, passed the following order on 18-12-1991.

    "The plaintiff's application Exh. 5 under order 39, Rules 1 and 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure is hereby allowed and the defendants are hereby temporarily restrained till the disposal of the suit to give operation to the order passed by the Education Officer (Secondary), Zilla Parishad, Bhandara vide its order No. 2614/91 dt. 25-10-1991."Shri Karemore the defendant No. 4 preferred an appeal before the District Judge, Bhandara vide Misc. Civil Appeal No. 4/92. After hearing the parties, the order dt. 18-12-1991 passed by the learned trial Judge was confirmed by the learned Addl. District Judge, Bhandara.

    The order passed by the learned Civil Judge, Sr. Dn. and the judgment and order of the learned Asstt. District Judge, Bhandara are exhaustive and reasoned by dealing the submissions of the rival parties.

    Admittedly, the respondent No. 1 did not prefer any appeal or revision against the order dt. 18-12-1991 passed by the Civil Judge, Sr. Dn., Bhandara. So also he did not challenge the judgment and order passed by the Addl. District Judge, Bhandara in Misc. Appeal No. 4/92. Thus, the orders of the learned Courts below became final.

    On 30th April 1992, the respondent No. 1 issued a letter to the Secretary/President of the Education Society, Tumsar directing them to abide by the order of the Addl. District Judge, Bhandara in Misc. Civil Appeal No. 4 of 1992 and report accordingly to him. It appears that as there was no compliance of the directions issued by the respondent No. 1 to the Secretary/President of the Education Society, Tumsar, the respondent No. 1 has sent another letter dt. 24-7-1992 to the President of the Education Society, Tumsar apprising that the Society has not complied with the order passed by the Addl. District Judge, Bhandara and in case there is no compliance then they have to face the consequences. The President of the Education Society, Tumsar sent the compliance report to the respondent No. 1 vide his letter dt. 28-9-92 wherein it is specifically mentioned that Mr. A. B. Singh is allowed to work as a Head Master since 28-9-92 having all the financial and administrative powers. There is an endorsement that this letter was received in the office of the respondent No. 1 on 29-9-1992.

    The copies of these letters were also forwarded to the Deputy Director of Education, Nagpur, Chief Officer, Zilla Parishad, Bhandara, Shri A. B. Singh Kushwaha and Shri R. B. Deshmukh.

    After resuming as Head Master, Mr. A. B. Singh has submitted the pay bills of the teaching and non-teaching staff to the respondent No. 1 for the month of November 1992. The copy of the pay bills is annexed with the contempt petition. The name of A. B. Singh has been shown at Sr. No. 1. However, his name is scored.

    Similarly, his signatures are found scored and pay bills are signed by Shri Deshmukh the In-charge Head Master which clearly goes to show that the petitioner was restrained from exercising administrative and financial powers vested in him. It is stated at Bar by the learned counsel of the respondent No. 1 that the name of Shri Singh and his signature were scored out and Shri R. B. Deshmukh put initials and signed the bill on his directions.

    Further, the respondent No. 1 issued a communication to the Management on 7-12-1992 directing Management to continue Shri R. B. Deshmukh as In-charge Head Master overlooking the facts that Shri Singh was allowed to work as Head Master w.e.f. 28-9-92 at his direction. The actions of the respondent No. 1 clearly depicts disregard to Court's orders and this action being deliberate and in willful disobedience of the orders of the learned Courts below, the respondent No. 1 is liable to be punished for having committed contempt of court.

    In the result, the respondent No. 1 Shri T. D. Wasnik is sentenced to suffer imprisonment till rising of the Court and to pay a fine of Rs. 500/- within a week, in default of payment of fine, to suffer simple imprisonment for one month. The rule is made absolute in respect of resp. No. 1.

    Litigant requires to be dealt with for Contempt of Court for abusing the process of the Court. There is a compelling need to take a serious view in such matters to ensure purity and grace in the administration of justice. The litigation in the Court of law is not a game of chess. The Court is bound to see the conduct of party who is invoking such jurisdiction.

    A prayer to the Hon'ble court can be made as explained herein after:
    That the respondents have willfully and with mala fide intentions have filed the instant complaint, which is devoid of any merit and is interference in the administration of justice. It may happen that in many cases, the Complainant has filed this vexatious complaint just to harass the applicant and family and is an illegal attempt by the Complainant and is filed in collusion and have set the legal machinery in motion and are guilty of wasting precious time and efforts of the Hon'ble Court.

    It is therefore this Hon'ble court may be pleased to take cognizance and to call the Complainant in person for explaining the fraud played with the court and to initiate contempt proceedings against her for lying and filing complaint and concealment of material facts before the Hon'ble court.

    Written By:
    1. Gurmeet Singh, Advocate, For M/S Gurmeet Singh & Associates, Advocates and Legal Consultants,
      Website: /.in, Email: [email protected], Ph No:+91 8750002000
    2. Miss Srestha Nandy
    3. Miss Prabha Dabral

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