Friday, October 15, 2010

disobedience of court orders does not amount to contempt

Accidental or unintentional disobedience of court orders does not amount to contempt, unless there is a wilful attempt to obstruct the course of justice, the Supreme Court has ruled.

"Accidental or unintentional disobedience is not sufficient to justify one for holding guilty of contempt," a Bench of Justices J M Panchal and Gyan Sudha Mishra held in their judgement.

"It is further relevant to bear in mind the settled law on the law of contempt that casual or accidental or unintentional acts of disobedience under the circumstances which negate any suggestion of contumacy, would amount to a contempt in theory only and does not render the contemnor liable to punishment," the court said.
The court gave the verdict while quashing the contempt proceedings initiated against Dinesh Kumar Gupta, Deputy Registrar (Judicial), Rajasthan High Court.

Gupta had moved the apex court questioning the contempt proceedings initiated against him by the Single Judge of the High Court on December 8,2006 for an alleged contempt committed by his predecessor in 2001 vis-a-vis an order passed by the judge on March 22, 2001.

The High Court had initiated contempt against Gupta on the ground that the order for initiating inquiry against a Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal(MACT)judge S.K. Bansal was sought to be scuttled by the registry.