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
Contempt of Court also has certain essentials and these are as follows:
- Disobedience to any type of court proceedings, its orders, judgment,
decree, etc. should be done 'willfully' in case of Civil Contempt.
- 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
- The court should make a 'valid order' and this order should be in
'knowledge' of the respondent.
- 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
Another case is on the breach of an undertaking which leads to Contempt of
U.P. Resi. Emp. Co-op., House B. Society v. New Okhla Industrial Development
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 ContemptA person who is accused of Civil Contempt of case can take the following
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
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:
Jaswant Singh v. Virender Singh
- Scandalizes or tends to scandalize, or lowers or tends to lower the
authority of, any court;
- prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with, the due course of
any judicial proceeding;
- interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to
obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner;
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
"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
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
- 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:
- the Advocate-General, or
- any other person, with the consent in writing of the Advocate-General,
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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:
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:
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:
Noorali Babul Thanewala vs K.M.M. Shetty And Ors
- 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;
- 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.
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.
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
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.
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
While holding the first respondent guilty of committing contempt
by willful disobedience of the undertaking given by him in this court, the
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.
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
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
"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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
- Gurmeet Singh, Advocate, For M/S Gurmeet Singh & Associates,
Advocates and Legal Consultants,
Website: www.gurmeetsinghandassociates.com /.in, Email:
[email protected], Ph No:+91 8750002000
- Miss Srestha Nandy
- Miss Prabha Dabral