The Delhi High Court has observed that a Court exercising contempt jurisdiction is meant to uphold the majesty of law and that it cannot sit in appeal of the Orders passed by the lower Courts and Tribunals.
Justice Subramonium Prasad added that the contempt jurisdiction is invoked to ensure that public respect and confidence in the judicial process remains impaired.
"This jurisdiction is sui generis and allows the Court to exercise such power to punish a person who is guilty of contempt for the sole purpose of preventing non-adherence of the rule of law. In order to exercise such jurisdiction, the Courts must act judicially, and must not be hypersensitive. Once the essentials for initiation of contempt proceedings are satisfied, the Court must proceed with the contempt so as to uphold the majesty of law," the Court added.
The Court was dealing with a plea alleging non-compliance of the Order dated 23.10.2019 passed by High Court wherein it had directed the District Magistrate, to decide the question of maintainability of the eviction petition filed by Respondent No.4 under provisions of the Delhi Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Rules, 2009.
It was thus argued on behalf of the petitioner that an appeal was filed against the Order dated 24.10.2019 before the Divisional Commissioner and despite objections to the maintainability of the appeal, it remanded the case back for hearing to District Magistrate.
It was thus argued that the District Magistrate, in clear contempt of the Order of the Court which directed for the maintainability issue to be decided, allowed the eviction application and the Divisional Commissioner on 29.10.2021 dismissed the stay application filed in the appeal against the said Order.
The Counsel for the Petitioner, therefore, submitted that the said Orders were passed without taking into consideration the observations of High Court in the order dated 23.10.2019 wherein the District Magistrate was directed to decide the maintainability of the case before proceeding on it's merits. It was stated that there was also no notice given to the Petitioner.
Perusing the orders in question, the Court observed that the Order of the Court dated 23.10.2019 was not violated and that the District Magistrate had aptly considered the question of maintainability of the case before proceeding on the merits.
"It is further observed by this Court that the instant contempt petition is in the garb of an appeal filed against the Orders dated 14.09.2021 and 29.10.2021, and the Petitioner should take recourse to the appropriate remedies available to her in accordance with law, instead of invoking the contempt jurisdiction of this Court," the Court said.
It added "The Court exercising contempt jurisdiction is meant to uphold the majesty of law and cannot sit in appeal of the Orders passed by the lower Courts and Tribunals."
Accordingly, the plea was dismissed.
Case Title: SUDESH CHHIKARA v. DR. NAVEEN AGGARWAL AND ORS.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 460