29 April 2022 12:30 PM GMT
The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court recently expressed shock over non-compliance of a direction issued by a Division Bench of the High Court, as long back as in the year 2001."It is a case where the appellant has taken recourse to the judicial proceedings to thwart the course of justice and a direction which was issued by the Division Bench in the year 2001 has not been complied...
The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court recently expressed shock over non-compliance of a direction issued by a Division Bench of the High Court, as long back as in the year 2001.
"It is a case where the appellant has taken recourse to the judicial proceedings to thwart the course of justice and a direction which was issued by the Division Bench in the year 2001 has not been complied with till date. This in itself is a shocking state of affairs which does hurts the judicial conscience and has a deleterious effect on the public at large" Bench comprising Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Jaspreet Singh remarked.
It was hearing intra-court appeal, assailing the order of a single judge allowing recall applications filed by the Respondents herein, resulting in revival of contempt proceedings that were imitated against the Appellant herein.
The case pertained to Chaudhary Multan Singh Memorial Dental College which admitted students for dental course. It was later revealed that the College did not have the approval from the Dental Council of India to admit the students after the first year. Against this backdrop, the aggrieved students preferred several writ petitions before the High Court, which were allowed. Later, a Division Bench of the Court dismissed the appeals and directed the College authorities to refund the fees.
Later, contempt proceedings were pressed for compliance as the College authorities failed to refund the fee. The petition had been pending since 2004, till the Contempt Court dismissed the petition as being infructuous as the parties were alleged to have entered into an amicable settlement. Thereafter, an application came to be filed, seeking recall of the order closing contempt proceedings, on the ground that it was obtained on misrepresentation of facts.
It was submitted that whereas the contempt petition was preferred by 29 petitioners, however, all the pleas were disposed merely on the basis of statements made by counsels appearing only in respect of two such petitioners. Thus, the prayer for recall was finally allowed by a Single Bench of the High Court which directed the Appellant herein to appear for framing of charges.
Hence, the present proceedings.
The Division Bench observed that the High Court being a court of record and a court of superior jurisdiction, is entitled to consider the question of its own jurisdiction raised before it. Article 215 specifically confers upon the Court of record such powers including the power to punish for contempt of itself.
"The contempt jurisdiction of the High Court is not only to ensure the compliance of the orders passed by the Court but also to strike at such acts which tend to adversely affect the administration of justice or has a tendency to impede the course of justice which may shake public confidence in the judicial institution.
The Court viewed the matter from another angle, where it sought to determine whether the statement given by a counsel for some of the parties can be treated to be a statement on behalf of all even though they are not represented by such counsel and what would be its effect?
In this regard, it referred to the maxim "Actus Curiae neminem gravabit", which means that the act of the Court shall prejudice no man.
It held, that the High Court being a court of record by its very constitution and composition is invested with inherent powers. All courts are vested with inherent powers to undo a wrong which may have occurred on account of a mistake of the Court causing prejudice to a party.
Thus, dismissing the Special Appeal and refusing to interfere in the impugned order, the Court observed:
"In the instant case, once it is not disputed that the order passed by the Division Bench of the year 2001 had not been complied with, the petition could not have become infructuous. The statement of the counsel, which was beyond his competence and yet made before the Court on behalf of such contempt-petitioners who had not entered into any settlement and it gave an impression to the Court that all the contempt-petitioners had settled the matter with the contemnor, is nothing short of a misrepresentation amounting to fraud, especially when the settlement, if arrived at, by only two of such contempt petitioners could at best be not pressed on their behalf but not on behalf of other co-petitioners and the petition as a whole ought not have been dismissed as having become infructous.
It is a case where the appellant has taken recourse to the judicial proceedings to thwart the course of justice and a direction which was issued by the Division Bench in the year 2001 has not been complied with till date. This in itself is a shocking state of affairs which does hurts the judicial conscience and has a deleterious effect on the public at large. In the aforesaid circumstances, the learned Single Judge rightly passed the order dated 02.12.2021 Ex-debito justitiae. The inherent powers of the Court can very well be utilized to undo a wrong and ensure that the path of justice remains un-polluted and the orders passed by it are taken to its logical conclusion, which in turn reinforces the faith of the public."
The Special Appeal was accordingly dismissed.
Case Title- Dr. J.S. Yadav v. Dr. Anil Kumar Upadhyay
Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (AB) 218
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