Bombay High Court: In a PIL filed by an advocate, Ms. Ankita Kamlesh Shah requesting the Registrar (Administration) to suggest one of the places situated in the premises of the High Court for being designated as a feeding spot for dogs inside the premises of the High Court, a Division Bench of Sunil B. Shukre and M.W. Chandwani JJ., directed to issue a show cause notice to the advocate and Dr. Gajendra Mahalle, Deputy Commissioner, Solid Waste Management Department, Municipal Corporation, Nagpur seeking an explaination as to why contempt proceedings be not initiated against them for attempting to interfere with the administration of justice by this Court because if such an effort is allowed to go on, a possibility of mischief mongers playing havoc and seeking the same prayer with High Security Areas such as Vidhan Bhavan, Airport, Air Force establishment, Military establishment, Railway Station, District Court, Atomic Mineral Division establishment etc.cannot be ruled out.
In the case at hand, the primary evidence suggested that the request letter of an Advocate Ms. Ankita Kamlesh Shah, which has been approved by the Deputy Commissioner of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation, interfered with the administration of justice because it appeared to be an attempt to pre-empt the issue raised in this petition in an effort to generate some publicity.
The Court observed that the letter sent by Deputy Commissioner of Municipal Corporation, Nagpur and also the letter sent to him by Advocate Ms. Ankita Kamlesh Shah are, prima facie, contemptuous of the authority of the present Court as they have been sent in a subjudice matter.
The Court observed that nowhere in the letter it is mentioned that whether the Nagpur Municipal Corporation has a legal right to designate High Court premises as a place to feed dogs, or whether stray animals are allowed to roam freely on High Court premises or whether they “have been determined by a competent authority to be the residents of High Court Premises.”
The court also questioned if the Deputy Commissioner had used any scientific methods to pinpoint the actual location of these stray dogs’ regular residence, or as to how many such dogs are endemically residents of the premises of the High Court; or whether the Supreme Court has directed the Nagpur Municipal Corporation to designate High Court as the proper area for dog feeding.
The Court remarked that if such an effort is allowed to go on, a possibility of mischief mongers playing havoc with High Security Areas such as Vidhan Bhavan, Airport, Air Force establishment, Military establishment, Railway Station, District Court, Atomic Mineral Division establishment and so on cannot not ruled out. Even the premises of Commissionerate, Collectorate, Office premises of Nagpur Municipal Commissioner, P.W.D. Office, Ravi Bhavan (Circuit House) etc. will be put on notice by the Deputy Commissioner to be ready for being Dog Feeding Areas turning each of them into Office-cum-Dog Feeding Centre.
The Court concluded that the present letter appears to be an attempt at pre-empting the issue involved in the present petition with a view to drawing some publicity in the matter, and thus, prima facie, amounts to interference in the administration of justice.
As a result, the Court ordered that Dr. Gajendra Mahalle and intervenor Advocate Ms. Ankita Kamlesh Shah be given a show-cause notice asking them to explain why they should not be held in contempt of court for seeking to obstruct this Court’s administration of justice.
[Vijay S/o Shankarrao Talewar v. State of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 7391, decided on 07-12-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For Petitioner: F.T. Mirza, Advocate;
For Respondent: D.P. Thakare, Additional Government Pleader with S.M. Puranik.