HC warns litigant against misusing contempt law by seeking action against judge

HC warns litigant against misusing contempt law by seeking action against judge

New Delhi, Nov 7 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Tuesday let off a litigant after warning against 'misusing and abusing' the process of contempt law by seeking contempt proceedings against a district court judge in an individual capacity, calling it an 'unmitigated attack on the majesty and honesty' of courts.

The high court said the litigant’s conduct of pursuing contempt proceedings against a judge of the district court on the ground that his grievances have not been duly addressed is “severely misguided and should be deterred”.

“The courts are constitutional institutions that preserve and secure the rights and liberties of each citizen of this country with the utmost vigilance and caution… “The Constitution of India, 1950 and the legal framework of the country provide adequate safeguards to challenge the decision taken by a court. However, unavailing of such liberties and pursuing contempt against a judge in an individual capacity is an unmitigated attack on the majesty and honesty of the courts,” Justice Jasmeet Singh said.

The high court was dealing with a petition which sought initiation of contempt proceedings against an additional district judge (ADJ), a lawyer and another person alleging 'wilful and malafide' refusal to follow, disobey and evade the law laid down.

Justice Singh dismissed the petition saying the ADJ concerned cannot be held guilty of contempt of court.

The high court said a judge may be guilty of contempt of court if there was material to show gross and intentional misuse of judicial process, corruption or intentional insubordination. But in this case, no such grounds are made out, it said.

The court refrained from initiating contempt action against the petitioner noting that he was suffering from neurological issues but warned him “against misusing and abusing processes of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971”.

“The petitioner has attempted to make use of the contempt proceedings to seek an explanation from the ADJ for the decision taken by him. In case such petitions are entertained, the judge, who is a party by name, will have to file a reply giving explanations and reasoning for his decision. This is impermissible,” the high court said.

Regarding the lawyer, who was also impleaded as an alleged contemnor, the court said he was acting in his professional capacity and cannot be impleaded in the contempt proceedings in his personal capacity.

“The scope of judicial independence is inclusive of the independence of the bar so that lawyers are able to carry out their professional duties in a secure and unprejudiced environment,” the high court said. PTI SKV SKV SK

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