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A. Ramalingam Vs. V.V. Mahalinga Nadar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectContempt of Court
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberContempt Appln. No. 4 of 1965
Judge
Reported inAIR1966Mad21; 1966CriLJ35; (1965)2MLJ162
ActsContempt of Courts Act, 1952 - Sections 3; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Order 21, Rule 32(5) - Order 39, Rule 2(3)
AppellantA. Ramalingam
RespondentV.V. Mahalinga Nadar
Cases ReferredBukhtiarpur Bihar Light Rly Co. Ltd. v. State of Bihar
Excerpt:
.....disobedience, and the extent to which it has been wilful. another reason that actuates us is that where the matter is one of infringement of a decree or decretal order embodying rights, as between parties, it is clearly not expedient that contempt jurisdiction should be invoked and exercised, in essence, as a mode of executing that decree, or merely because other remedies may take time, or are more circumlocutory in character......contends that the existence of any such alternative remedy to his client, will not take away the contempt jurisdiction of this court. he has also relied upon a decision of a bench of the calcutta high court in lala shyam sundar v. lala baij nath prasad, 68 cal wn 148 for the view that breach of an undertaking given to court by any person in a proceeding, would be misconduct amounting to contempt. learned counsel has further cited and relied upon the judgment of panchapakesa ayyar, j. in chinnabba chetty v. chengalroya chetty, : air1950mad237 for the view that order xxi rule 32(5) of the civil procedure code was intended to cover only mandatory injunctions, and did not apply to prohibitory injunctions at all. (3) we think it is sufficient to stress the following principles, which will.....
Judgment:
ORDER

(1) After having heard learned counsel, and very carefully considered the situation in which we are called upon to exercise our jurisdiction under S. 3 of the Contempt of Courts Act, XXXII of 1952, we are clearly and definitely of the view that, assuming the facts to be as stated by the petitioner, it would not be expedient in the interests of justice to exercise that jurisdiction here, for more than one reason. We are taking it that there is a temporary prohibitory injunction decree made by the appellate Court, which has been disobeyed by the respondent, in the sense that he has erected certain buildings in infringement of that prohibitory injunction. In such a case, it is obvious that Order XXXIX, Rule 2(3) of the Code of Civil Procedure provides a clear and adequate remedy, the party aggrieved may bring it to the notice of the Court granting the injunction, that its decree or order has not been respected, and that Court, after due enquiry, may exercise the punitive powers against the person in disobedience, under the terms of that rule.

(2) Learned counsel for petitioner strenuously contends that the existence of any such alternative remedy to his client, will not take away the contempt jurisdiction of this Court. He has also relied upon a decision of a Bench of the Calcutta High Court in Lala Shyam Sundar v. Lala Baij Nath Prasad, 68 Cal WN 148 for the view that breach of an undertaking given to Court by any person in a proceeding, would be misconduct amounting to contempt. Learned counsel has further cited and relied upon the judgment of Panchapakesa Ayyar, J. In Chinnabba Chetty v. Chengalroya Chetty, : AIR1950Mad237 for the view that Order XXI Rule 32(5) of the Civil Procedure Code was intended to cover only mandatory injunctions, and did not apply to prohibitory injunctions at all.

(3) We think it is sufficient to stress the following principles, which will be clearly relevant to a situation of the present kind. Essentially, contempt of Court is a matter which concerns the administration of justice and the dignity and authority of judicial tribunals; a party can bring to the notice of Court, facts constituting what may appear to amount to contempt of Court, for such action as the Court deems it expedient to adopt. But, essentially, jurisdiction in contempt is not a right of a party, to be invoked for the redressal of his grievances; nor is it a mode by which the rights of a party, adjudicated upon by a tribunal, can be enforced against another party. The entire corpus of execution law exists for the enforcement of rights, by one party against another, which have been the subject matter of adjudication. In our view, there are sufficient grounds here to show that it will be inexpedient and undesirable to institute proceedings in contempt jurisdiction, in a situation of this kind. Firstly, the facts themselves may be in controversy, whether a deliberate flouting of a judicial order or decree has occurred, and we state this, irrespective of the merits of the instant case. When they are in controversy, they cannot be ascertained without due enquiry. If the Court is to commence an action in contempt jurisdiction, only after ascertaining facts at such an enquiry, obviously it will be converting itself into an agency for arriving at findings of fact which may be a foundation for contempt jurisdiction. On the contrary, it would be in the interests of justice to exercise contempt jurisdiction, or to commence to do so, only when the facts on the record ex facie support such a proceeding; any detailed enquiry must be left to the Court which has passed the order and which is presumably fully acquainted with the subject-matter of its own decree of temporary prohibitory injunction. For this reason, we are of the view that Order XXXIX, Rule 2(3) of the Civil Procedure Code is a far more adequate and satisfactory remedy in such cases. Again, where the situation is strictly inter partes and third party rights are not involved, it is clearly more desirable that the Court which made the order of injunction, should go into the facts, and ascertain the truth of the alleged disobedience, and the extent to which it has been wilful.

(4) As far the decision in : AIR1950Mad237 is concerned, it is really beside the point here, for the question before us is not whether Order XXI, Rule 32(5) of the C. P. C provides, or does not provide, an effective mode for the applicant by which to enforce the decree that he has obtained. The Calcutta decision that we have earlier referred to, merely indicates that, under such circumstances, it may not be incorrect for the Court to act in contempt jurisdiction; even so, everything will obviously depend upon the particular set of facts in the case that is before the Court. Another reason that actuates us is that where the matter is one of infringement of a decree or decretal order embodying rights, as between parties, it is clearly not expedient that contempt jurisdiction should be invoked and exercised, in essence, as a mode of executing that decree, or merely because other remedies may take time, or are more circumlocutory in character.

(5) In a very similar situation, on the facts, in Bukhtiarpur Bihar Light Rly Co. Ltd. v. State of Bihar, : AIR1951Pat231 a Bench of that Court declined to exercise jurisdiction by the issue of a writ of mandamus under Art. 226, where a flagrant and wilful disobedience of an agreement was alleged. The Bench pointed out that the alternative legal remedy available to the aggrieved party was no less convenient beneficial and effectual; the writ power was discretionary in character, and the party must ordinarily resort to the Civil Court of competent jurisdiction, for necessary reliefs. The principle of this decision applies here and on a stronger ground, because contempt jurisdiction should be reserved for what essentially brings the administration of justice into contempt on unduly weakens it, as distinguished from a wrong that might be inflicted on a private party, by infringing a decretal order of Court. The application is dismissed with these observations. The petitioner may pursue such alternative remedies as are available to him in law, as we have pointed out, subject, of course, to all valid defence that may be raised thereto

(6) Petition dismissed.


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