The court may grant an extension to a party for compliance with an order before issuing a contempt of court notice: High Court of Uttarakhand

Judging by the facts of a case, the court may be inclined towards granting an extension to party enabling them to comply with the order if they had a valid reason for delay. However if the party subsequently does not comply with the order in the future, the court would issue a contempt of court notice. This was held in the judgement passed by a single member bench of the High Court of Uttarakhand consisting of Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari in the case of Mahendra Singh Dhauni v Shailesh Bagauli & another [Contempt Petition No. 288 of 2021] on 26th July 2021.

The petitioner, Mahendra Singh Dhauni was working as a Junior Engineer at Nagar Palika Parishad, Bhowali on a temporary basis.  In 2012, he filed a Petition WPMS No. 1369 of 2012 seeking regularisation of his job. On 23rd February 2018, the Court passed a judgement reading “Accordingly, the writ petition is disposed of with the direction to the respondents to consider the case of the petitioner for regularisation to the post of Junior Engineer on the basis of recommendation also made by the Chairman, Nagar Palika Parish, Bhawali, within a period of ten weeks from today.”  However after even after this order, the petitioner’s representation was not considered and he was simply told that there were not vacancies for the permanent post of Junior Engineer in Nagar Palika Parishad, Bhowali.

The petitioner’s counsel brought to the notice of the Court one letter dated 12th July 2021 issued by the Chairman of the Nagar Palika Parishad to the Secretary of Urban Development, Dehradun where it is mentioned that the post of Junior Engineer has fallen vacant. It was submitted the petitioner’s claim for regularisation was never considered despite the High Court passing the order in WPSS No. 1369 of 2012. The court noted that the petitioner should have been given preference for the vacant position as he was already working on a temporary basis as a junior engineer. It was also added that the court could have held the opposite parties liable for contempt of court and they did not comply with the previous order, but decided to grant them another chance to do the necessary.

Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari concluded that “This Court thinks that one more opportunity be given for compliance of the order of this Court and in such view of the matter, the contempt petition is disposed of with liberty to petitioner to make representation to opposite party No. 1, within two weeks from today. If such a representation is made within stipulated time, opposite party No. 1 shall consider the same and pass appropriate order, in accordance with law, having due regard to the order passed in WPMS No. 1369 of 2012.”

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