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Nand Gopal Vs. S. Kartar Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectContempt of Court
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberContempt Civil Petition No. 22 of 1982
Judge
Reported in1984CriLJ213; 1983(5)DRJ299
ActsContempt of Court Act, 1971 - S.12
AppellantNand Gopal
RespondentS. Kartar Singh and ors.
Advocates: K.C. Mittal and; V.P. Prabhakar, Advs
Excerpt:
.....taking action under contempt of court act. the civil and criminal courts have their own jurisdiction and their findings shall not be affected by a decision of this petiticn. respondent held to have connected a willful breaches of the undertaking given to the court and fined rs. 1000/- or to suffer seven days imprisonment in default. - - kartar singh, filed a suit for injunction against the operation of the generator as well. at any rate, it is a matter of evidence and detailed examination to find out as to whose contention was correct, the respondents have committed no willful breach of the undertaking and whatever the breach complained of may be it does not interfere with the course of justice so as to call for punishment by the court......also applied to desu for separate electricity and power connection. but respondent no. i kartar singh filed a suit on 17-1-1980 for restraining the desu from doing so. the sub-judge passed a restraint order on 19-2-1980 against separate connection. an appeal of the petitioner against the order was dismissed by the additional district judge. later on, the said suit was withdrawn on 17-1-1982.(5) on 31-1-19so the petitioner lodged another report with the police against the threats advanced by the respondents.(6) the petitioner then brought his own generator. kartar singh, filed a suit for injunction against the operation of the generator as well. the sub-judge passed a restraint order on 19-2-1980. the petitioner lost the appeal on 28 3-1980 and the revision against that order on.....
Judgment:

M.L. Jain, J.

(1) The petitioner Nand Gopal, Proprietor of Gupta Steels (India) was in occupation of the ground floor premises in dispute situated in Karnal Road, Delhi, and owned by respondent Kartar Singh, on a rent of Rs. 2000.00 per month under a license deed dated 1-1-1977 due to expire on 31-12-1979. It was agreed that the petitioner will be entitled to use the water and industrial power. The petitioner then installed furnaces and machines of the steel resoling factory. By an agreement of 22-2-1978, Rs. l,00,000.00 was advanced by the petitioner to the respondents upon the conditions that the loan shall be payable within a year and the petitioner shall not be evicted until the amount of loan was repaid. On 19-9-1979 a suit for recovery of the said loan was filed by the petitioner.

(2) On 5-11-1979 the respondent Kartar Singh came to the premises, began to quarrel, manhandled him, got the power supply disconnected and broke the telephone. The petitioner lodged a report of this occurrence with the police. The flying squad was called and light was provided from the main station.

(3) On 17-1-1980, the petitioner filed an application under Section 45 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 for restoration of the power. In that application, the AddI Controller ordered restoration of power supply on 12-2-1980. On appeal, the Rent Control Tribunal on 19-3-1980 directed the Addl. Controller to return a finding if there was any relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties. Further appeal by the petitioner to the High Court was dismissed. On 28-3-1980 the Additional Controller reported to the Tribunal that there was no such relationship between the parties. On 19-4 1980, the Tribunal even tally accepted the appeal against the order of 12-2-1980 and dismissed the petitioner's application under Section 45(3) of' the Delhi Rent Control Act. The petitioner's appeal against that order was dismissed by the High Court on 8-7-1980.

(4) The petitioner also applied to Desu for separate electricity and power connection. But respondent No. I Kartar Singh filed a suit on 17-1-1980 for restraining the Desu from doing so. The Sub-Judge passed a restraint order on 19-2-1980 against separate connection. An appeal of the petitioner against the order was dismissed by the Additional District Judge. Later on, the said suit was withdrawn on 17-1-1982.

(5) On 31-1-19SO the petitioner lodged another report with the police against the threats advanced by the respondents.

(6) The petitioner then brought his own generator. Kartar Singh, filed a suit for injunction against the operation of the generator as well. The Sub-Judge passed a restraint order on 19-2-1980. The petitioner lost the appeal on 28 3-1980 and the revision against that order on 5-11-1980. This suit was withdrawn by the respondent on 29-3-1982.

(7) He petitioner then Filed a Suit No. 66/80 on 21-2-1980 for injunction against the respondents fur restraining then from dispossessing the petitioner forcibly and illegally. On 26-2-1980 Kartar Singh gave an undertaking, 'I shall not dispossess the plaintiff except by due process if law'. In view of this undertaking the suit was dismissed as withdrawn.

(8) In March 1981, the petitioner shifted his factory to Anand Parbat and locked the aforesaid disputed premises with machinery and other material worth about Rs. 2 lakhs inside and posted a Chowkidar by name Jaipal to guard the property. On 13-1-1982 the respondents are alleged to have forcibly and illegally confined the Chowkidar in a room and broken the front and back locks and opened the doors of the premises and thrown the belongings of the petitioner on the road and some in the back portion. Of this occurrence, the petitioner lodged a report with the police on 19-1-1982 under Section 408/506 Indian Penal Code Respondent No. 1 obtained an anticipatory bail on 23 1-1982.

(9) On 16-1-198? Kartar Singh filed a suit for permanent injunction against the petitioner restraining him from removing his scrap material from the premises without clearing his dues and from disturbing his actual possession of the disputed premises.

(10) On 19-1-1982 when the petitioner went to the premises, he found the respondents along with 15 Nothings with arms at the gate of the premises and the petitioner was threatened that if he tried to enter the premises, he will be done to death. The premises in a group of 15/20 persons. He lodged a report of this occurrence with the police on the same day. On. 21-2-1982 he made similar reports to the Deputy Commissioner of Police and Addl. Commissioner of Police under Sections 448, 451/341/506 34 IPC. On 28-1-1982 he again made a similar report to the Deputy Commissioner of Police. On 4-4-1982 the Police seems to have registered a case but made a final report and dropped the proceedings on 6-6-1982. The petitioner has also filed a criminal complaint in this regard which is pending before the Magistrate.

(11) The petitioner had initiated on 5-2-1982 proceedings under Section 145 Criminal Procedure Code . relating to the same premises which are pending in the court of the concerned SDM. The Sdm on 6-2-1982 issued the preliminary order. On 17-5-1982 the police made a report in favor of the respondent that no case under Section 145 was made out. These proceedings seem to be pending.

(12) The petitioner also filed a suit for possession relating to the same premises and the same is pending in the court of the Sub-Judge,

(13) The petitioner has moved the present petition on 5-2-1982 under Section 12 read with Section 10 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 197! alleging that though the factory was closed at Karnal Road in July, 1981 and the new unit started operating in the Rohtak Road Industrial Area, yet the possession of G.T. Karnal Road premises was with the petitioner where part of his machinery and other belongings were lying. On the night intervening 13th and 14th January, 1982 the premises were captured by the respondents by use of man-power and lowering the dignity and honour of the court. All the respondents with knowledge and connivance voluntarily and intentionally flouted the undertaking given to the court by breaking open the locks of the premises and committing trespass. He also made an application on 5-2-1982 for restraining the respondents from interfering with the peaceful enjoyment of the premises.

(14) According to the respondents, the premises were vacated in March, 1981. While leaving, the petitioner dumped some iron scrap in the premises. The premises were then given under a license by the respondent to Harbhajan Singh on 15-10-1981. Harbhajan Singh vacated the premises on 26-10-1982. Thereafter, the same were given to Rajdhani Rice Traders on 3-3-1982. While the petitioner was in the process of shifting, respondent No. I demanded from him an amount of Rs. 37,829.40 paid by respondent No. I to the Delhi Electric Supply Undertaking due from him on account of electricity/power consumption. The respondents also demanded an amount of Rs. 45.000.00 on account of damages estimated by the architect in accordance with clause 1 1 of the deed dated 1-1-1977 for which a notice has already been given to the petitioner. Another amount of Rs. 7100.00 on account of water and light consumption, and Rs. 56.000.00 by way of damages @ Rs. 4000.00 per month for remaining in unauthorised occupation of the premises after the expiry of license from 1-1-1980 to 21-2-1982, were also demanded. The petitioner after collecting the iron scraps dumped the same in the half portion of the open space on the backside of the premises vacated by him. He stated that he would remove those materials in due course after settlement of the accounts. But the petitioner started removing the scraps. Thereupon, respondent No. I filed a report about this removal with the local police.

(15) The respondents further allege that on 15-1 1982 at 4.00 p.m. the petitioner brought some hired goondas and wanted to remove the scrap, but the situation was saved by his wife, sons and neighbours.

(16) The main question to be considered is whether after the undertaking was given and the suit was withdrawn the premises had been vacated by the petitioner or the respondents had forcibly occupied the same. The police had also reported that the premises have been vacated by the petitioner himself. The petitioner maintains that he had locked the premises Along with the material and the respondents could not take possession of the premises without getting a decree for the same from the court. He has also filed a suit for possession. It is urged on behalf of the contemners that the same question will arise in the said suit, in the complaint and in the proceedings under Section 145 Cr. P C. pending before the courts. If I were to hold that the respondents have obtained possession without due process of law, it will be pre-empting the determination of the issues in the regular criminal and civil proceedings. It was also pointed out that the petitioner after the expiry of the license had no right to retain possession. He had himself voluntarily surrendered possession and that has been confirmed by the report of the police. He has removed his machinery and has started his factory elsewhere. Simply because he had kept some material there in one portion, it does not mean that he retained possession of the premises. At any rate, it is a matter of evidence and detailed examination to find out as to whose contention was correct, the respondents have committed no willful breach of the undertaking and whatever the breach complained of may be it does not interfere with the course of justice so as to call for punishment by the court.

(17) I have considered all these aspects and arguments. The fact that the same facts will require to be investigated by the courts civil and criminal will not effect the propriety of this court taking action under the Contempt of Courts Act. The criminal and civil courts have their own jurisdiction and their findings shall not be affected by a decision of this petition. To my mind, the material that has been placed before me shows that when the petitioner shifted his factory, he had not put the respondents back into peaceful possession. He had left his material there and had locked the premises. It does not appear correct to say that the petitioner vacated the premises just to be allowed to be occupied by the respondents and then initiate contempt proceedings. If it were a case of voluntary surrender, he will not trouble himself with criminal complaints under Section 145 proceedings and a civil suit for possession. I, thereforee hold that there has been a willful breach of the undertaking on the part of the respondent No. 1. Others do not seem to be guilty.

(18) I accept this petition and hold respondent No. 4 guilty under Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act and sentence him to a fine of Rs. 1000.00 and in default of payment thereof within seven days, to simple imprisonment for one month. Rest of the respondents are discharged.


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