Contempt Of Court: In Bombay High Court

An individual who disobeys a judge or otherwise interrupts the legal process in the courtroom is charged with contempt of Court. The Court issued an order in the contempt petition directing the petitioners to comply with the decision or present the order before the Court, which was upheld by the High Court Of Bombay and was pronounced by the honorable Judge SANDEEP K. SHINDE J on 03.02.2022 in SHRI. SAYED ARSHAD ZAIDI V. THE MUNICIPAL COMMISSIONER (Contempt Petition No.433 Of 2021).

Smt. Mehmood Fatima, the petitioner-predecessor-in-title, plaintiff’s was a Vacant Property Tenant (VLT) of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai regarding 1000 square yards of land in Lower Parel Division at Senapati Bapat Marg, Worli, Mumbai-400 018 (‘Suit Plot/Property’). That Petitioner is Smt. Mehmood’s grandson. Mustafa, his father, built four chawls on the same land for 35 residents. The eviction process was contested at the City Civil Court of Mumbai before the warrant of possession was issued in the eviction proceedings. Eviction orders were dismissed by the Principal Judge of the City Civil Court of Mumbai in an order dated July 14, 1983.

In a series of Writ Petitions, the Corporation contested the ruling of the Principal Judge of the City Civil Court of Bombay. The Division Bench of this Court, in a Judgment dated August 20, 1984, vacated the City Civil Court’s verdict and upheld the eviction orders issued by the Corporation’s Enquiry Officer under Section 105B of the BMC Act.

In March 2011, tenants occupying tenements in chawls (hereafter referred to as ‘Kamal Patra’ Chawl) created Radhakishan Co-operative Housing Society (Proposed) and agreed to redevelop the Suit Property through M/s. Shankla Realtors Private Limited, pending the First Appeal (Respondent No.4). The Municipal Corporation approved the proposal of responder no. 4 of Greater Mumbai’s Improvement Committee, and a Letter of Intent was issued.

The Corporation has recorded the facts mentioned above, backed up by the necessary development permits. Although this Court granted liberty, these permissions have not been contested in “proper proceedings.” It should also be highlighted that, even though the second Civil Application was filed in February 2018, the applicants have not progressed since then. Since filing the second Civil Application, it appears that the petitioner has chosen to keep silent.

Mr. Mulla, the petitioner’s skilled counsel, would rely heavily on the petitioner’s two counter-affidavits, one sworn on January 25, 2022, and the other on January 29, 2022. Mr. Mulla argued that the Development Agreement signed by Respondent No.6 and the Letter of Intent shows that the Corporation and the developer were aware of the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s ruling dated October 16, 2018. Despite these directives, both went ahead and developed the Suit Plot.

Mr. Mulla has guided the learned Judge through the affidavits, which indicate that the petitioner has challenged or questioned development approvals, IOD, and LOI. Even yet, if he was offended by the development licenses, he should have pursued “proper measures” in line with the liberty he desired while dropping the first Civil Application. As a result, the issue of the validity of Development Permits cannot be reviewed in the Contempt Measures since the petitioner has not selected “suitable proceedings.” For the reasons mentioned above, Contempt Petition is dismissed.

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Reviewed by Rangasree

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