Court not to be bystander to disobedience of its orders; contemnor sentenced imprisonment and fine: Calcutta HC

Calcutta High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Dr Sambuddha Chakrabarti, J. held an alleged contemnor guilty for not complying with its order.

The alleged contemnor was the erstwhile Pradhan of the village in which the subject land was located. A land dispute arose between the petitioners and the respondents. Pursuant to its adjudication of the matter, the High Court directed the alleged contemnor to cause an enquiry in the matter including physical inspection of the plots in question. The order was communicated to the respondent on 16 March 2016. However, the said order was not complied till date. Consequently, the instant contempt proceedings were undertaken.

The alleged contemnor submitted that due to some wrong understanding, he could not comply with the direction of the Court. The High Court observed that the order was passed in the simplest language possible. If the alleged contemnor had any difficulty in comprehending the contents of the order, he could have mentioned the matter for clarification. Furthermore, at Paragraph 6 of his affidavit, the alleged contemnor submitted that he was intimated by Panchayat Office that the parties have settled the matter amicably. The Court was of the view that when the Court directed the alleged contemnor to do a certain thing in a certain manner he was  required to act in terms of the said order and if he had any information that the dispute had been settled, even then he had no excuse for not complying with the Court’s direction. It was held that non-compliance of the Court’s order could not be allowed to go absolutely without any consequence. It appeared from the alleged contemnor’s reply that he did not take any serious effort to comply with the Court’s order for reasons best known to him. If the Court decided to be a bystander to the disobedience of its order without taking appropriate remedial steps, the majesty and dignity of the Court’s order shall very fast be lost relevance. Holding thus, the alleged contemnor was found guilty for contempt of Court and sentenced him undergo seven days simple imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 2000. [Haran Laskar v. Nikhil Baidya,2018 SCC OnLine Cal 7676, decided on 03-10-2018]

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