Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu & Kashmir High Court: A Division Bench of Ali Mohammad Magrey and Dhiraj Singh Thakur, JJ. disposed of the appeal after asking the Writ Court to hear the parties and decide the writ petition on merits, expeditiously.

An appeal was filed by the appellant (who is the respondent 7 in the connected writ petition), against the order dated 23-10-2019 passed by the learned Single Judge in the contempt petition arising out of Other Writ Petition (OWP) filed by the respondent’s 8 to 11.

The appellant stated that the respondents 8 to 11 had filed an OWP, wherein the learned Single Judge, in terms of order dated 10-01-2019, while issuing notice to the respondents, observed that pendency of the writ petition shall not come in the way of the official respondents in making further follow up under law in pursuance to NIT No. 64/02/EEP/R&B/2018-19 dated 27th of June, 2018. Thereafter, alleging non-compliance of the aforesaid order passed by the learned single Judge, the writ petitioners/ respondents 8 to 11 filed a contempt petition, wherein the learned single Judge, in terms of order dated 23-10-2019, i.e., directed that the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Pulwama, was to take immediate steps to provide security to the Executing Agency so that the execution work undertaken by the Executive Engineer, R&B, Division Pulwama, with respect to pathway in question went unhindered.

The appellant submitted that the contempt petition had arisen out of the ad-interim order passed in writ petition filed by the respondents 8 to 11 wherein the learned Single Judge has only made observation that pendency of the writ petition shall not come in the way of the official respondents in making further follow up under law, however, the learned Single Judge had gone beyond the scope of contempt jurisdiction by issuing further directions for providing security to the Executing Agency.

The Court found force in the submissions of the appellant and, therefore, ordered that the impugned order was set aside; since the consideration in the contempt petition was deferred. Accordingly, the appeal was disposed of along with the connected petitions. [Ghulam Hassan Rather v. UTof J&K, 2019 SCC OnLine J&K 913, decided on 02-12-2019]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and SK Kaul and KM Joseph, JJ has closed the contempt petition filed by BJP lawmaker Meenakshi Lekhi against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for wrongly attributing to the court, his “chowkidar chor hai” slogan against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rafale Deal case. The bench , however, said

“Rahul Gandhi needs to be more careful in future,”

Lekhi had accused Gandhi of misquoting the April 10 order of the Supreme court in which it had allowed additional leaked documents to be put on record as evidence in the Rafale case.Gandhi, who was then the president of the Congress party, allegedly said that the Court had accepted that ‘chowkidar’ (a reference to Prime Minister Modi), is a “chor’ (thief).
Pursuant to this, the Supreme Court issued a contempt notice against him.

Chief Justice Gogoi was categorical that Gandhi had to either offer a clear-cut apology or face criminal contempt. Subsequently, Gandhi tendered an unconditional apology to the Court and sought closure of the contempt proceedings against him.
During the course of proceedings, former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who represented Lekhi, had argued that Gandhi’s apology should be rejected and
action must be taken against him.

“He (Gandhi) has only expressed regret. The law is clear in contempt cases that the line starts with an unconditional apology,”

The bench also dismissed the the petition seeking review of it’s 2018 order where the bench had dismissed the petition seeking probe in the much talked about Rafale Deal by holding that there was no reason for any intervention by this Court on the sensitive issue of purchase of 36 defence aircrafts by the Indian Government.

(Source: ANI)


Read more about the 3-judge bench verdict in Rafale Deal case here.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: Prakash Shrivastava, J., dismissed the revision petition filed by the respondents under Section 115 CPC where they challenged the order of the Trial Court, whereby their application for rejection of plaint under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC was rejected.

The respondents had filed the suit for declaration and permanent injunction, wherein the petitioners had filed the application for rejection of plaint which has been dismissed by the impugned order. The petitioner argued that he was carrying his business on the suit property and earlier had filed a writ petition before the High Court. The Court issued directions relating to map and permission to construct Pakka shop and for non-compliance of the said contempt was also filed, therefore, the present suit was not maintainable and the trial court had committed an error in rejecting the application under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC.

The respondent submitted that post the passing of the order in Writ Petition and Contempt Petition, a lot of development has taken place and the order of the Trial Court does not suffer from any error.

The Court held that the plaint can be rejected under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC if the defendant is able to point out that any of the grounds which are mentioned in Rule 11 exists on the basis of the plaint averment. The petitioners could not point that there is any bar in entertaining the suit before the Trial Court. Merely on the basis of the order in the writ petition and in the contempt petition the plaint cannot be rejected on the ground that it does not disclose any cause of action, when otherwise in the plaint cause of action has been disclosed. The Trial court had rightly taken note of the fact that the materials on which the petitioners were placing reliance upon cannot be considered for rejection of plaint under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC. There was no illegality in the order passed by the Trial Court and the revision petition was found to be devoid of any merit and was dismissed. [Purshottam v. Murlidhar, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 2099, decided on 22-08-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: The Bench of Tashi Rabstan, J., dismissed the application filed for seeking stay of contempt proceedings pending in the contempt petition on the ground that the applicants/respondents had already filed a review petition for review of judgment/order, implementation of which was sought by the writ petitioner by filing the contempt petition.

The facts of the case were that the Court had given direction to the applicants/respondents to consider the claim of writ petitioner as per the rules occupying the field and having regard to the judgments/orders passed in a prior case which was applicable to the case of writ petitioner. Against the said order, the applicants/respondents filed a review petition along with an application for condonation of delay; writ petitioner also filed a contempt petition seeking implementation of judgment/order. In the contempt petition, the Court vide an order directed the applicants either to comply with the judgment or produce before the Court the order, if any, passed in the review petition. Against the said order, the applicants/respondents filed the instant application in the review petition seeking to stay of contempt proceedings pending in the contempt petition.  The writ petitioner’s contention was that the application was to be dismissed simply on the ground that the applicants/respondents had already filed an independent motion in the contempt petition for deferment of contempt proceedings till the time the review petition was decided by the Court.

The High Court was of the opinion that the application could not be allowed. It was observed, “The present application deserves to be dismissed simply on the ground that on perusal of the application it reveals that the applicants/respondents have already filed an independent motion in the contempt petition for deferment of contempt proceedings till such time the review petition is decided by this Court. Further, the applicants/respondents have not stated that under which provision of law they have filed the instant application in the review petition thereby seeking staying of contempt proceedings”. Furthermore, the Court, noting the statements made by counsel for the applicants/respondents, held that they had already complied with the judgment/order. The application was thus dismissed. [Syed Mohammad Hafiz v. State of J&K, 2019 SCC OnLine J&K 176, Order dated 27-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Manipur High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Ramalingam Sudhakar, CJ, dismissed a contempt petition filed against the Sub-Deputy Collector, Sawombung (Imphal East).

The matter related to a property suit between the parties. The suit was decreed by the learned Civil Judge against the defendants (petitioners herein), against which they preferred an appeal before the learned District Judge. The appeal was admitted; however, no interim order was passed. The plaintiffs moved to Sub-Deputy Collector for mutation of revenue records based on the decree passed. Recording that there was no stay on the decree passed by the Civil Judge, the Sub-Deputy Collector allowed the amendment to revenue records. The defendants alleged that the Sub-Deputy Collector committed contempt in terms of Section 2(b) of Contempt of Court Act 1971.

The High Court perused the record and found no merit in the contentions put forth by the defendants. The Court categorically observed, “in absence of stay or injunction in the appeal, the party who succeeds in the litigation should be entitled to enjoy the fruits of the decree unless there is a restraint order by the appellate forum”. The Court found that there was no stay order against the decree passed by the Civil Judge. As such, the Sub-Deputy Collector did not disobey any order of the Court. In such circumstances, the Court held the contempt petition to be sans merit. The petition was accordingly dismissed. [Huidrom Ningolakpa Singh v. Lunguiba Thangal, 2018 SCC OnLine Mani 53, dated 02-06-2018]