Any Person Aggrieved With Violation Of General Directions Issued In A Judgment Can File Contempt Petition: SC [Read Judgment]

Any Person Aggrieved With Violation Of General Directions Issued In A Judgment Can File Contempt Petition: SC [Read Judgment]

"We give them a last opportunity to withdraw the disclosure policy insofar as it contains exemptions which are contrary to the directions issued by this Court. "

The Supreme Court has observed that when the directions issued in a judgment are general in nature, any aggrieved party (not just the party to the judgment), can file a Contempt petition when there is violation of such directions.

The Bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice MR Shah, while considering a contempt petition, directed the Reserve Bank of India to withdraw the disclosure policy insofar as it contains exemptions which are contrary to the directions issued in Reserve Bank of India v. Jayantilal N. Mistry Judgment.

In this judgment, the Supreme Court had declared that RBI does not place itself in a fiduciary relationship with the financial institutions because, the reports of the inspections, statements of the bank, information related to the business obtained by the RBI are not under the pretext of confidence or trust.

In the instant case, a person, who was not party to the above case, had filed an RTI application seeking information relating to the inspection reports of ICICI bank, AXIS bank, HDFC bank and State Bank of India from 01.04.2011 to the date of filing of the application.
As information sought was not given, he filed contempt petition before the Supreme Court though he was not a party to the judgment.

It was contended before the bench that a contempt petition is maintainable only at the behest of a party to the judgment and thus the instant petition is liable to be dismissed. In this regard, the bench said:

"We do not agree with Mr. Gupta that a contempt petition is maintainable only at the behest of a party to the judgment. The directions issued by this Court are general in nature and any violation of such directions would enable an aggrieved party to file a contempt petition. "

The bench observed that the new policy which replaces the disclosure policy dated 30.11.2016 directs various departments not to disclose information that was directed to be given by the judgment in Reserve Bank of India v. Jayantilal N. Mistry. Thus the RBI has committed contempt of Court by exempting disclosure of such materials, the bench said.

However, the bench closed the contempt case with this warning:

"We could have taken a serious view of the Respondents continuing to violate the directions issued by this Court, we give them a last opportunity to withdraw the disclosure policy insofar as it contains exemptions which are contrary to the directions issued by this Court. The Respondents are duty-bound to furnish all information relating to inspection reports and other material apart from the material that was exempted in para 77 of the judgment. Any further violation shall be viewed seriously by this Court."

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