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Rachhpal Singh Vs. Gurdarshan Singh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectContempt of Court
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revvn. No. 2331 of 1983
Judge
Reported inAIR1985P& H299
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Order 21, Rule 32 - Order 39, Rules 1, 2, 2A, and 2(3); Contempt of Courts Act
AppellantRachhpal Singh
RespondentGurdarshan Singh
Cases ReferredSheo Kumar Saxena v. Zila Sakhari Vikas Sangh Gonda
Excerpt:
.....passed by a single judge in exercising powers of superintendence under article 227 of the constitution. - this is clearly brought out by their identity with the procedure prescribed by the civil procedure code for the execution of a decree for a permanent injunction o. ..for an injunction has been passed, has had an opportunity for obeying the decree and has wilfully failed to obey it, the decree may be enforced, in the case of a decree......sept. 25, 1980, the same having become infructuous. the trial court held swaran singh and jaswant singh guilty of the contempt of court and committed them to civil imprisonment for one month. jaswant singh, however, was held to have not violated the order. three appeals were filed against the order of the trial court, two by swaran singh and rachhpal singh against their conviction and the third by gurdarshan singh against jaswant singh. the appeal filed by gurdarshan singh was allowed and jaswant singh was also committed to civil imprisonment for one month and the other appeals were dismissed by the learned additional district judge, hoshiarpur, by the impugned order. hence these three petitions by the contemners.3. the legality of the impugned order has been challenged by the learned.....
Judgment:

S.P. Goyal, J.

1. This judgment will dispose of three connected Civil Revision Petitions Nos. 2331 of 1983, 2344 and 2345 of 1983 which are directed against a common order of the learned Additional District Judge, Hoshiarpur, dt. Aug. 17, 1983.

2. In a suit filed by Gurdarshan Singh, ad interim injunction restraining defendant No. 1 from transferring the possession and defendants Nos. 2 and 3 from alienating the house in dispute was passed on Feb. 26, 1977. During the pendency of the suit, Rachhpal Singh and Swaran Singh defendants executed the sale deed in favour of Jaswant Singh on June 27, 1980. Consequently, Gurdarshan Singh filed an application under O. 39, R. 2A, C.P.C. for initiating contempt proceedings against the vendors and the vendee. Before that application was disposed of he withdrew his suit on Sept. 25, 1980, the same having become infructuous. The trial Court held Swaran Singh and Jaswant Singh guilty of the contempt of court and committed them to civil imprisonment for one month. Jaswant Singh, however, was held to have not violated the order. Three appeals were filed against the order of the trial Court, two by Swaran Singh and Rachhpal Singh against their conviction and the third by Gurdarshan Singh against Jaswant Singh. The appeal filed by Gurdarshan Singh was allowed and Jaswant Singh was also committed to civil imprisonment for one month and the other appeals were dismissed by the learned Additional District Judge, Hoshiarpur, by the impugned order. Hence these three petitions by the contemners.

3. The legality of the impugned order has been challenged by the learned counsel for the petitioners primarily on the ground that no order under the said R. 2-A could be passed when the ad interim injunction stated to have been violated was no more in existence. Reliance for this submission was placed on a decision of the Supreme Court in the State of Bihar v. Rani Sonabati Kumari, AIR 1961 SC 221. A contrary view had been taken by Harbans Lal, J. in M/s. Bharaj Manufacturing Co. (Reg.) v. Jai Pal (1980) 82 Pun LR 406 without noticing the aforesaid decision of the Supreme Court. The matter otherwise also being of public importance, I referred the same to a Division Bench for authoritative pronouncement. This is how these cases have been laid before us.

4. Sub-rule (1) of R. 2-A provides that in the case of disobedience of any injunction granted under R. 1 or R. 2 or breach of any of its terms on which the injunction was granted or order made, the court may order the property of the person guilty of such indiscipline or breach to be attached and may also order such person to be detained in the civil prison for a term not exceeding three months, unless in the meantime the court directs his release. Sub-rule (2) lays down that no attachment made under the said rule shall remain in force for more than one year at the end of which time, if the disobedience or breach continues, the property attached may be sold and out of the proceeds, the court may award such compensation as it thinks fit to the injured part and shall pay the balance, if any, to the party entitled thereto. From the combined reading of the provisions of these two sub-rules, it appears that their purpose is the enforcement of the injunction and not the punishment for its disobedience. From the phraseology used in the said rule, it is further evident that detention in the civil prison and attachment of the property are to continue for a specified period and that too only during the continuance of the disobedience or the breach. In the case of detention in the civil prison, the court is empowered to release the person guilty of disobedience or breach even prior to the expiry of the maximum period of three months and obviously it can be ordered only if the disobedience or breach discontinues. Similarly, attachment of the property can not remain in force for more than one year and has to be withdrawn if any time prior thereto the disobedience discontinues. It would not be possible for the court to order the sale of property if the disobedience or breach comes to an end prior to the period of one year. Similar are the provisions contained in R. 32 of O. 21 which relates to the enforcement of a decree for a permanent injunction. It cannot be disputed that the measures contained in Rule 32 are intended only to enforce the decree and not for awarding any punishment to the judgment-debtor for its disobedience. The conclusion, therefore, appears to be irresistible that the provisions of Rule 2-A are meant for enforcing an ad interim injunction and not for punishing the person guilty of such disobedience. We are fortified in our view from the following observations of the Supreme Court in Rani Sonabati Kumari's case (AIR 1961 SC 221) (supra):

'Though undoubtedly proceedings under Order 39, Rule 2(3) Civil Procedure Code, have a punitive aspect as is evident from the contemner being liable to be ordered to be detained in civil prison, they are in substance designed to effect the enforcement of or to execute the order. This is clearly brought out by their identity with the procedure prescribed by the Civil Procedure code for the execution of a decree for a permanent injunction O. 21, R. 32 sets out the method by which such decrees could be executed and Clause (1) enacts `where the party against whom a decree......... for an injunction has been passed, has had an opportunity for obeying the decree and has wilfully failed to obey it, the decree may be enforced, in the case of a decree......... for an injunction by his detention in the civil prison, or by the attachment of his property or by both Cls. 2 and 3 of this rule practically reproduce the terms of clauses 4 and 3 respectively of O. 39, R. 2, and the provisions leave no room for doubt that the O. 39, R. 2(3) is in essence only the mode for the enforcement of effectuation of an order of injunction'.

Once it is held that the provisions of R. 2-A are not meant to punish the person guilty of disobedience and instead their purpose in substance is only to enforce an injunction, the answer to the question involved has to be that no intimation or continuation of the proceedings under the aforementioned rule would be competent after the ad interim injunction has been vacated.

5. The learned counsel for the respondent to advocate the contrary view relied on Thakorlal Parshottam Das v. Chandulal Chunilal, AIR 1967 Gujarat 124, Gobinda Parida v. Chakradhara Routrary AIR 1971 Orissa 10 and Calcutta Medical Stores v. Stadmed Private Ltd. (1977) 81 Cal 209. In Thakorlal Parshottamdas and Gobinda Parida's cases (supra), the injunction was still in force when the action against its disobedience was taken. In the case of Calcutta Medical Stores, the only question before the court was whether the High Court would entertain a petition for contempt in the presence of adequate provisions contained in O. 39 for the enforcement of the injunction. The question at hand was neither raised nor debated there. In three decisions of this court in Hari Parshad v. Khilla Ram 1974 Pun LJ (Cri) 71, Janak Raj v. Ganesh Das Puri 1975 Pun LJ (Cri) 39 and M/s. Bharaj Manufacturing Co.'s case (1980-82 Pun LR 406) (supra), the view similar to the one taken in the case of Calcutta Medical Stores was expressed and the court declined to entertain a petition under Contempt of Courts Act on the ground that equally efficacious remedy was available under O, 39, C.P.C. In none of the decisions of this court or the ones noticed above, the observations made by the Supreme Court in Rani Sonabai Kumari's case (AIR 1961 SC 221) (supra) were taken notice of. The matter came up for direct consideration before S. C. Mathur, J. of Allahabad High Court in Sheo Kumar Saxena v. Zila Sakhari Vikas Sangh Gonda AIR 1983 All 180 who relying on the said Supreme Court decision held that after a temporary injunction has been vacated, it cannot be enforced or executed and, therefore, punitive action also cannot be taken after its vacation. We full endorse this view and hold that no proceedings can be initiated or action taken under Rule 2-A against a person guilty of disobedience or breach of ad interim injunction after it has been vacated. Nothing said herein before, however, would debar the taking or proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act in spite of the vacation of the ad interim injunction against the person guilty of its breach during the period it remains in force.

6. For the reasons recorded above, the impugned order is set aside and the petition under R.2-A dismissed.

7. Petition dismissed.


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