1. By this petition Shri Vijay Kumar Puri, the petitioner herein, has challenged the legality of the order passed on May 5, 1980, by Miss Usha Mehra, Additional District Judge, Delhi, whereby a fine of Rs. 500 was imposed on the petitioner for committing contempt of Court. In default of payment of fine, it was directed that he would undergo rigorous imprisonment for ten days.
2. A petition under S. 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') seeking a decree for divorce, has been filed against the petitioner which he is contesting. He has not engaged a counsel and is appearing in person. The facts leading to the impugned order are that in reply to the application filed under S. 151 of the Civil P.C. on behalf of his wife, seeking maintenance, the petitioner averred : 'The Hon'ble Court should not be a party to the litigation and the Court should pronounce the order in accordance with the law set out in the C.P.C.' Mr. S. R. Goel, Additional District Judge, Delhi, in whose Court the matrimonial case was pending, considered this averment as casting as-person on the Court and issued show cause notice to the petitioner. The reply to the show cause notice came up for consideration before Miss Usha Mehra, Additional District Judge, Delhi, successor of Mr. S. R. Goel. By the impugned order it has held that the language used by the respondent is derogatory and amounts to contempt of Court on the finding that the reply of the petitioner to the application under S. 151 of the Civil P.C. as also his reply to the show cause notice, clearly established that the petitioner herein had lowered the dignity of the Court and had cast aspersion on it. The learned Additional District Judge has thus punished the petitioner by imposing a fine of Rs. 500/-.
3. The petitioner has filed this petition invoking the revisional jurisdiction of this Court under the Cr.P.C. for quashing the said order a being without jurisdiction. On July 30, 1980, when it came up for admission I directed issuance of the notice to the Standing Counsel for the Delhi Administration. My first impression was that a revision petition challenging the impugned order was not maintainable. As the question raised was important and the petitioner had not engaged a counsel, I appointed Mr. D. R. Sethi as amices Curiae.
4. Mr. Dinesh Mathur, learned Standing Counsel for the Delhi Administration, and Mr. D. R. Sethi, have made their submissions. Both of them have contended that the impugned order is without jurisdiction and liable to be quashed. In the present case it is apparent that the petitioner has been punished for criminal contempt as envisaged in S. 2(c) of the Act. The findings of the trial Court, as noticed above, show that the said contempt did not constitute an offence punishable under S. 228 of the I.P.C. Under these circumstances, the cognizance of that criminal contempt could have been taken only by this Court as per the procedure laid down in S. 15 of the Act. The punishment awarded by the trial Court to the petitioner is, thereforee, without jurisdiction. I accordingly, agree with the learned counsel that the impugned order is contrary to law.
5. Although a petition under S. 397 of the Cr.P.C. is not maintainable, yet exercising my supervisory jurisdiction under Art. 227 of the Constitution I set aside the order dated May 5, 1980, passed by Miss Usha Mehra, Additional District Judge, Delhi.
6. In the result, the amount of fine of Rs. 500, which has been realised from the petitioner, is directed to be refunded to him forthwith.
7. Order accordingly.