COPC Nos. 216 and 217 of 2016. Case: Abhilash Chand and Ors. Vs Sanjay Gupta and Ors.. Himachal Pradesh High Court

Case NumberCOPC Nos. 216 and 217 of 2016
Party NameAbhilash Chand and Ors. Vs Sanjay Gupta and Ors.
CounselFor Appellant: M.L. Sharma, Senior Advocate, B.L. Soni and Aman Parth Sharma, Advocates and For Respondents: Shrawan Dogra, Advocate General, Anup Rattan, Romesh Verma, Additional Advocate Generals and J.K. Verma, Deputy Advocate General
JudgesMansoor Ahmad Mir, C.J. and Tarlok Singh Chauhan, J.
IssueConstitution of India - Articles 129, 215
Judgement DateMarch 06, 2017
CourtHimachal Pradesh High Court

Judgment:

Tarlok Singh Chauhan, J.

1. Both these contempt petitions have been filed against the judgment rendered by this Court in CWP No. 937/2015, titled as 'Abhilash Chand & others versus State of Himachal Pradesh and others' alongwith connected matters decided on 03.11.2015 whereby the respondents were directed to implement the policy framed by them within a period of six months, as would be evident from the operative portion of the judgment which reads thus:-

3. In view of the above, we deem it proper to dispose of the writ petitions by directing the Authorities concerned to implement the said Policy as early as possible, preferably within six months. Ordered accordingly.

2. It is averred that it was only on account of the directions passed by this Court that the State Government formulated the policy for taking over the services of the petitioners as well as similarly situated persons with a condition precedent that all those who are to be benefited by the policy should not have any litigation pending. The petitioners with bonafide belief that their services would be regularized withdrew the petition earlier filed by them, but would complain that the respondents were not implementing their own policy notified on 3rd October, 2015, as was undertaken by them.

3. The respondents have filed their reply wherein it is averred that though there has been some delay in implementing the policy, however, the same stands implemented in its letter and spirit.

We have heard the learned counsel for the parties and gone through the records of the case.

4. Shri M.L. Sharma, learned Senior Counsel, assisted by Shri B.L. Soni and Shri Aman Parth Sharma, Advocates, for the petitioners would vehemently argue that since the respondents have failed to implement the judgment within the stipulated period and un-necessarily dilly-dallying the matter, therefore, they should be prosecuted and punished for having willfully and deliberately flouting the orders passed by this Court and thereby committed the contempt.

5. Learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners in order to buttress his submissions has placed reliance on the following observations of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Priya Gupta and Anr. versus Addl. Secy., Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ors. 2013 Criminal law Journal 732 which read thus:

13. As already noticed, the violations are admitted on the part of this contemnor. The tendering of apology by him, though at the initial stage of the hearings, cannot be accepted by the Court inasmuch as violation of the orders of the Court is willful, intentional, and prejudicial. Such conduct, not only has the adverse effect on the process of admissions and disturbs the faith of people in the administration of justice, but also lowers the dignity of the Court by unambiguously conveying that orders of this Court, its directions and prescribed procedure can be manipulated or circumvented so as to frustrate the very object of such orders and directions, thereby undermining the dignity of the Court. Administration of justice is a matter which cannot be ignored by the Court and the acceptance of apology tendered by the contemnor would amount to establishing a principle that such serious violations would not entail any consequences in law. This would, thus encourage repetition of such offences, rather than discouraging or preventing others from committing offences of similar nature as it would have no preventive or deterrent effect on persons for committing such offences in future. Thus, it is not a case where the Court should extend mercy of discharging the accused by acceptance of apology, as it would amount to encouraging similar behaviour.

20. The provisions of the Act do not admit any discretion for the initiation of proceedings under the Act with reference to an order being of general directions or a specific order inter se the parties. The sine qua non to initiation of proceedings under the Act is an order or judgment or direction of a Court and its wilful disobedience. Once these ingredients are satisfied, the machinery under the Act can be invoked by a party or even by the Court suo motu. If the contention raised on behalf of the contemnor is accepted, it will have inevitable consequences of hurting the very rule of law and, thus, the constitutional ethos. The essence of contempt jurisprudence is to ensure obedience of orders of the Court and, thus, to maintain the rule of law. History tells us how a State is protected by its Courts and an independent judiciary is the cardinal pillar of the progress of a stable government. If over-enthusiastic executive attempts to belittle the importance of the Court and its judgments and orders, and also lowers down its prestige and confidence before the people, then greater is the necessity for taking recourse to such power in the interest and safety of the public at large. The power to punish for contempt is inherent in the very nature and purpose of the Court of justice. In our country, such power is codified. It serves at once a dual purpose, namely, as an aid to protect the dignity and authority of the Court and also in aiding the enforcement of civil remedies. Looked at from a wider...

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