Delhi High Court Rejects Contempt of Court Plea Against Judge for Case Dismissal

LI Network

Published on: November 08, 2023 at 11:51 IST

The Delhi High Court has rejected a plea seeking contempt of court action against a judge for dismissing a case, emphasizing the importance of deterrence in such matters.

Justice Jasmeet Singh, while delivering the judgment, asserted that initiating contempt proceedings against a judge in their personal capacity due to unresolved grievances should be discouraged.

The High Court pointed out that the legal framework and the Constitution of India, 1950, provide sufficient safeguards to challenge court decisions. However, resorting to contempt of court action against a judge on an individual basis constitutes an unwarranted assault on the sanctity and integrity of the judicial system.

Justice Singh clarified that a judge can only be held in contempt if there is substantial evidence of gross and deliberate misuse of the judicial process, corruption, or intentional insubordination.

The court further highlighted that lawyers, while acting in their professional capacity, should not be implicated in personal contempt of court proceedings. Appropriate laws are in place to address professional misconduct.

The judgment stressed the importance of maintaining judicial independence, which includes safeguarding the independence of the legal profession to allow lawyers to perform their professional duties in a secure and unbiased environment.

This ruling came in response to a civil contempt case filed by Vijay Kumar Agarwal against an Additional District Judge (ADJ) who had previously dismissed his suit, the counsel representing the respondent in the trial court, and the respondent himself.

Agarwal’s civil suit, related to the possession of immovable property in Delhi’s Mayur Vihar area, was dismissed in default in May 2012. After years of legal proceedings, including perjury applications against the respondent, the suit was eventually dismissed in July 2023 under Section 35B of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) due to non-payment of costs required for restoration.

Justice Singh noted that the petitioner was not contesting the dismissal of his suit on its merits but was attempting to initiate contempt proceedings.

The Court firmly stated that pursuing contempt proceedings to seek explanations from a judge for their decisions was impermissible and misguided.

It emphasized that the judiciary is a constitutional institution responsible for safeguarding the rights and liberties of all citizens, and such actions should be discouraged.

Despite the petitioner’s conduct exceeding the bounds of fair criticism, the High Court refrained from initiating contempt action against him due to reported neurological issues.

The Court concluded that there was no enforceable direction against the respondent in the trial court’s judgment, and therefore, no contempt could be established against him.

The petition was dismissed, with the petitioner granted the liberty to pursue remedies available under the law against the order dated July 22, 2023.

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