‘A high court cannot initiate contempt proceedings or punish for contempt of the Supreme Court’.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently refused to entertain a contempt petition alleging violation of Supreme Court directives in Arnesh Kumar vs State of Bihar.
Justice Rajan Gupta said such a contempt petition alleging violation of Supreme Court directives will not be maintainable before high courts in view of dictum in Vituasah Oberoi & ors. vs Court on its own motion.
In Vitusah Oberoi, the apex court had held that a high court cannot initiate contempt proceedings or punish for contempt of the Supreme Court.
In Arnesh Kumar case, the apex court had issued directives in order to prevent unnecessary arrest and causal and mechanical detention. It had directed all the state governments to instruct its police officers not to automatically arrest when a case under Section 498-A of the IPC is registered but to satisfy themselves about the necessity for arrest under the parameters laid down in Section 41 CrPC.
One Pankaj Goyal had approached the high court alleging violation of Supreme Court directives in the case against him. The state questioned the maintainability of such a contempt petition before the high court citing the recent decision in Vitusah Oberoi case. The court agreed with that contention and allowed the petitioner to withdraw the case.
Read the Order here.