M.A. No. 361 of 2013 in O.A. No. 3 of 2012. Case: Anil Kumar B. Vs Union of India. Armed Forces Tribunal

Case NumberM.A. No. 361 of 2013 in O.A. No. 3 of 2012
CounselFor Appellant: T.R. Jagadeesh, Adv. and For Respondents: E.V. Moly, Central Government Counsel
JudgesShrikant Tripathi, Member (J) and M.P. Muralidharan, Avsm & Bar, Nm, Member (A)
IssueArmed Forces Tribunal Act 2007 - Sections 14, 15, 19, 19(1), 29; Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) - Order XXI Rule XXI; Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) - Section 151; Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) - Section 482; Contempt Of Courts Act, 1971 - Sections 14, 15, 17, 18, 2(b), 2(c), 20
Judgement DateJune 23, 2014
CourtArmed Forces Tribunal

Order:

Shrikant Tripathi, Member (J), (Regional Bench, Kochi)

1. Heard the learned counsel for the applicant and the respondents and perused the record.

2. The final order in the Original Application was rendered on 9th January, 2013 with the direction to the respondents to pay the disability pension to the applicant for life at the rate of 50% disability with effect from 1st July, 2005. They were granted four months time to pay the entire arrears. It was also directed that the entire amount will carry a simple interest at the rate of 7% p.a. if the arrears of disability pension was not paid within the aforesaid period. But the respondents did not make any compliance of the order, so the applicant filed this execution petition, in which this Bench passed the interim order dated 13th January, 2014 granting three weeks' additional time to the respondents to submit compliance report. The Bench further observed to proceed under Section 19 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007, hereinafter referred to as 'the Act', against the officer responsible for the delay. The relevant observations made in the interim order is reproduced as follows:

2. We do not find any reason for the respondents to delay the compliance matter. The delay may amount to an interruption in the proceeding of the Tribunal, consequently, in the event of non-compliance of the order by the next date, we will have no option except to adopt punitive measure under Section 19 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act against the officer responsible for the delay.

3. Despite the aforesaid direction, no progress took place for the implementation of the order, so we passed the interim order dated 7th April, 2014 directing the respondents to calculate the entire arrears and deposit the same in the Tribunal by the next date, otherwise contempt proceedings will be initiated against the officer responsible for the delay. The relevant portion of the interim order dated 7th April, 2014 is reproduced as follows:

3. In view of the aforesaid, the respondents are directed to calculate the entire arrears payable to the applicant in terms of the order of the Bench and deposit the same in the Tribunal by the next date, failing which, we will proceed to initiate contempt proceedings against the Officers responsible for the delay.

4. Till the date, no progress for the implementation of the order in terms of the aforesaid interim order took place. The learned counsel for the respondents, however, tried to justify their stand on the ground that the matter was being processed to file an appeal, so the order could not be implemented. According to the learned counsel, now appeal has also been filed, which is yet to be listed for admission. In our view, the implementation of the order could not be kept in abeyance on the ground that the respondents proceeded to file, or have already filed, an appeal. The proper course for the respondents was to file the stay order against the operation of the order of the Tribunal, but they could not do so till the date. In this view of the matter, the execution cannot be kept pending infinitely. It appears that the respondents are avoiding the execution assuming that the Tribunal has no power to enforce its order, so we consider it just and expedient to examine the issue.

5. In the matter of Subrata Roy Sahara v. Union of India and others (Writ Petition (Crl.) No. 57 of 2014), the Apex Court vide its order dated 6th May, 2014 took into account the event of disobedience of courts' order seriously and observed that disobedience of orders of a Court strikes at the very root of the rule of law, on which the judicial system rests. Judicial orders are bound to be obeyed at all costs. Howsoever grave the effect may be, is no answer for non-compliance of a judicial order. Judicial orders cannot be permitted to be circumvented. In exercise of contempt jurisdiction, Courts have the power to enforce compliance of judicial orders, and also, the power to punish for contempt.

6. In Subrata Roy Sahara's case (supra), the Apex Court referred to three previous decisions, i.e. firstly, K.A. Ansari & another v. Indian Airlines Ltd. ((2009) 2 SCC 164), secondly, Maninderjit Singh Bitta v. Union of India ((2012) 1 SCC 273) and thirdly, Supreme Court Bar Association v. Union of India (1999 4 SCC 409). In K.A. Ansari's matter (supra), the Apex Court held that the respondent, Indian Airlines, was obliged to obey and implement the direction of the Single Judge of the High Court. If they had any doubt or if the order was not clear, it was always open to them to approach the court for clarification of the order. The Apex Court further observed that without challenging the said direction or seeking clarification, the Indian Airlines could not circumvent the same, on any ground whatsoever. Difficulty in implementation of an order passed by the Court, howsoever grave its effect may be, is no answer for its non-implementation. In the matter of Maninderjit Singh Bitta (supra) the Apex Court, while taking serious note of the tendency of disobedience of court's order, observed that disobedience of orders of the court strikes at the very root of the rule of law on which the judicial system rests. The rule of law is the foundation of a democratic society. Judiciary is the guardian of the rule of law. If the Judiciary is to perform its duties and functions effectively and remain true to the spirit with which they are sacredly entrusted, the dignity and authority of the courts have to be respected and protected at all costs. The Apex Court further observed that Courts are called upon to exercise jurisdiction with twin objects in mind. Firstly, to punish the persons who have disobeyed or not carried out orders of the court i.e. for their past conduct. Secondly, to pass such orders, including imprisonment and use the contempt jurisdiction as a tool for compliance of its orders in future. In Supreme Court Bar Association' case (supra), a five Judge Constitution Bench of the Apex Court, while explaining the power of the...

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