The Supreme Court in Kuldeep Kapoor & Ors vs. Court on its Motion, has observed that a litigant refusing to answer a question put to him by the Court does not constitute criminal contempt of Court.
A three-judge bench comprising Justice Anil R Dave, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice AM Khanwilkar opined so while setting aside a Delhi High Court order in suo motu contempt proceedings against Kuldeep Kapoor and Ashok Kumar.
In a brief order, the bench also noted that no proper notice under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, had been given to the alleged contemnor. “We find that the behaviour of the appellants was not contemptuous,” the bench said.
In the instant case, the plaintiff was accused of tampering with documents he produced along with the plaint. The court initiated contempt proceedings against him for refusing to answers the questions put to him. The Delhi High Court had sentenced Kuldeep Kumar and Ashok Kumar to undergo simple imprisonment for 2 months and to pay a fine of Rs. 2,000.
Read the Judgment here.
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.