(Prayer: This CCC is filed under Sections 11 and 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 r/w Article 215 of the Constitution of India by the Complainant, praying to initiate Contempt of Court proceedings against the accused for having violated the Order Dated 24TH February, 2016 passed by this Hon ble Court in W.P.No.8589/2016 (GM-Wakf) by forcefully collecting the Hundi Amount, the Amount and Gifts presented by the Devotees vide Annexure-B, and punish the accused for willfully and Deliberately Disobeying the order passed by this Court and for a direction to the accused to refund the amount collected by him to the Wakf Institution by allowing this Contempt of Court Case.)
H.G. Ramesh, J.
1. Whether a third party has locus standi to present a petition to initiate action for civil contempt under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 ( the Act ) is the short question for consideration in this case.
2. This petition is presented to initiate action for civil contempt, alleging willful disobedience of the order of this Court dated 24.02.2016 made in Writ Petition No.8589/2016; operative portion of the order reads as follows:
17. Considering all these aspects of the matter, I mould and grant relief to the petitioner in W.P.No.8589/2016 as follows:
(i) If the Muslim Jamath Committee proposes to hold the Uroos, it shall be at liberty to do so, but it shall not take any amount from the hundi or take any contribution from the devotees. If the devotees make the voluntary contributions, the same are to be put into the hundi only. The expenses on holding the Uroos celebrations are to be borne by the Management Members of the said Committee. If they hold the Uroos, they have to spend from their pocket.
(ii) The first respondent Karnataka State Board of Wakfs and the third respondent administrator shall jointly ensure that no body collects the contributions or gifts from the devotees unauthorizedly and/or utilize them. The collections and contributions by, for and on behalf of the Masjid are to be spent only for running its day-to-day administration in the letter and spirit of this Court s order, dated 24.11.2015.
(iii) I reiterate the direction granted by this Court, by its order, dated 24.11.2015 to the first respondent to complete election process for the purpose of constituting Management Committee.
(iv) Whether the Uroos can be held after February or whether two Uroos can be held in respect of the same Sufi Saint are the questions to be determined by the first respondent; this Court does not have the expertise to decide such an issue.
3. We have heard Sri Vivek S.Reddy, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the complainant and perused the record. The complainant namely, Shamshuddin, who is a Government servant, has presented this petition in his personal name and in his personal capacity and not as administrator of the Masjid referred to in the order extracted above. Administrator of the Masjid was arrayed as respondent No.3 to the writ petition. The complainant was not the administrator of the Masjid as on 03.10.2016, the date of presentation of this petition. He was not a party to the aforesaid writ petition in his personal capacity. It is stated that he worked as administrator of the Masjid from 10.09.2015 to 09.04.2016 and is presently working as Assistant Director of Land Records, Madikeri.
4. On being asked as to how this contempt of court petition presented by the complainant in his personal capacity and in his personal name is maintainable, the learned Senior Counsel submitted that any person can move the Court to initiate action for contempt of court. We are unable to accept the submission.
5. It is a settled position in law that the power conferred on a High Court under Article 215 of the Constitution of India to punish for contempt of court must be exercised in accordance with the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. Therefore, having regard to the provisions of the Act, petition to initiate action for civil contempt as defined under Section 2(b) of the Act can be presented only by a party aggrieved, except where the Court which passed the order has given liberty to third parties, who are not parties to the order, to initiate action for contempt of court. We may state that Section 14 of the Act relates to procedure where contempt is in the face of the Supreme Court or a High Court and Section 15 of the Act relates to procedure in the case of a criminal contempt; they are exceptions to the rule of locus standi relating to civil contempt stated above.
6. The complainant is not a party to the order in his personal capacity. As the complainant has presented this petition in his personal capacity and in his personal name and not as administrator of the Masjid, he cannot be said to be a party aggrieved . It is relevant to state that, in the order, no liberty is given to any third party to initiate action for contempt of court. Hence, the petition as brought is not maintainable and is accordingly dismissed. This order will not come in the way of administrator of the Masjid to initiate action in the matter in accordance with law.