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Absence Of Rule Of Law Propels A Country Towards Inevitable Ruin, Duty Of Court To Take Strict View Of Non-Compliance Of Judicial Orders: Delhi HC

Nupur Thapliyal
26 April 2022 11:30 AM GMT
Absence Of Rule Of Law Propels A Country Towards Inevitable Ruin, Duty Of Court To Take Strict View Of Non-Compliance Of Judicial Orders: Delhi HC
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Observing that the absence of rule of law or the presence of utter disregard for the rule of law propels a country towards inevitable ruin, the Delhi High Court has said that it is the duty of the Court to take a strict view when there is non-compliance of judicial orders.Justice Subramonium Prasad added that the Courts should not hesitate in wielding the sword of contempt when grappling with...

Observing that the absence of rule of law or the presence of utter disregard for the rule of law propels a country towards inevitable ruin, the Delhi High Court has said that it is the duty of the Court to take a strict view when there is non-compliance of judicial orders.

Justice Subramonium Prasad added that the Courts should not hesitate in wielding the sword of contempt when grappling with a situation pertaining to wilful disobedience.

"The process of due course of administration of justice must remain unimpaired. Attempts to circumvent or undermine judicial decisions need to be viewed seriously in order to ensure that the functioning of our country is unhindered, especially during turbulent times. It is only the rule of law which not only cements the civilised functioning of a country, but also drives a country towards progress and development," the Court observed.
It added "Absence of rule of law or in the presence of utter disregard for the rule of law propels a country towards inevitable ruin. In light of this, it is the duty of the Court to take a strict view when there is non-compliance of an Order of the Courts, and Courts should not hesitate in wielding the sword of contempt when grappling with a situation pertaining to wilful disobedience."

The Court was dealing with a petition for initiating contempt proceedings against a private respondent for violating the undertaking given to the Court in terms of the order dated 21.09.2012 passed by the High Court in a civil suit.

In the suit, the parties, who were related to each other, entered into a compromise. Under the said compromise, the Respondents agreed to handover the ground floor of the premises to the Petitioner on or before 30.09.2017. Apart from this, the Defendants therein were made to pay a sum of Rs.1 Crore under the said compromise.

An application under Order XXIII Rule 3 of the CPC was filed. The said application was disposed of vide Order dated 21.09.2012 and the suit was decreed on the terms of the compromise and the parties were directed to remain bound by the terms and conditions of the settlement.

Consequently, a Relinquishment Deed dated was executed in favour of the Petitioner. Thereafter, the Petitioner got the premises in question converted into freehold by paying conversion charges to the DDA and a conveyance deed was registered in favour of the Petitioner. Since the Respondents did not vacate the premises in question, the contempt petition was filed.

The Court noted that the affidavit given to the Court was an understanding to vacate the premises and that the same was prepared on 19.09.2012, therefore the premises were to be handed over to the petitioner on or before 30.09.2017.

"There is nothing on record to show that the Respondents have approached this Court by contending that a fraud has been played on them. A receipt has also been filed to show that the payment of Rs.1 Crore has been received when the Order was passed by the Court decreeing the suit on the basis of compromise entered into between the parties," the Court said.

It added "The Respondents kept quiet for five years. They did not raise any issue regarding any fraud played on them for five years. Learned Counsel for the Respondents has further stated that the Petitioner has criminal antecedents. This Court observes that the so-called FIR registered against the Petitioner has resulted in the discharge of the Petitioner. In any event, the criminal antecedents of the Petitioner would be irrelevant for the purpose of contempt proceedings."

The Court was of the view that the underlying purpose of the law of contempt is meant to serve public interest and build confidence in the judicial process.

This flows from how the functioning of a democratic society is sustained by the rule of law and wilful violation of the same would enable anarchy, the Court said.

The Court took note of the fact that there was no whisper on the part of the Respondents stating that they had not received the remaining sum of Rs.80 lakhs since the Order dated 21.09.2012 and that the said grievance had only been raised for the first time when the contempt petition was filed.

"The feeble contention of the learned Counsel for the Respondents that the Respondents were not literate and could not understand the consequences of the consent decree cannot be accepted at this point as it is observed that the Respondents were educated enough to comprehend the undertaking that they had given to the Court. This Court does not appreciate the defences that are being raised by the Respondents to subvert the authority of the Courts," the Court observed.

Accordingly, the Court found the respondents guilty of the contempt of Court.

The matter will now be heard on May 5 for arguments on sentence.

Case Title: NAVIN SONI v. MUNISH SONI & ORS

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 373 

Click Here To Read Order 


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