Contempt petition filed under section 11 of  Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 barred – Madras high court

Contempt petition filed under section 11 of  Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 barred – Madras high court

The petitioners filed a contempt petition praying to initiate contempt proceedings against contemnors 1 and 2 and to punish them for deliberately misleading the Court to pass the orders in W.P.(MD)No.8037 of 2020. The petitioner was heard and closed by a single judge bench of THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE G.R.SWAMINATHAN in the case of Mahasemam Trust versus Rohit Karanth Sawhney and Anr. ( Cont. P(MD)No.442 of 2021 in W.P(MD)No.8037 of 2020)

The petitioner filed W.P.(MD)No.8037 of 2020 challenging and downgrading of their rating by  India Rating and Research Private Limited and the court dismissed the petition as non -maintainable and it was made clear that the petitioner has the liberty to avail in-house remedy available or move to Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) directly by filing a complaint against the Rating Agency. The petitioner questioned this order by filing  S.L.P. No.15116 of 2020 and the same was dismissed the supreme court also made it clear that the petitioner may seek the remedy as stated by the high court.

The petitioner then filed a complaint against the Rating Agency before SEBI and the SEBI took the stand that the petition is not maintainable and the petitioner will have to move to the Reserve Bank of India according to petitioner the reserve bank of India issued circulars have been violated. The petitioner unsatisfied with the decision files the present petition before the court.

The court rejected the SEBI stand on that they do not have jurisdiction on the matter and the court directed to pass an order on merits and made it clear that the issue of maintainability shall not be reopened. The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioners submits that the petitioner faulted the conduct of the authority and submitted that even though this Court in its earlier order had specifically foreclosed the issue of maintainability, the official had chosen to seek clarification once again from the Reserve Bank of India and placed reliance on the case of  (2017) 5 SCC 517 (National Securities Depositor Limited Vs. Securities and Exchange Board of India) and submits that the SEBI has dismissed the application without going in the merits of the case.

The court after hearing all the arguments find that the said submissions are not satisfactory and as pointed by the learned counsel that the SEBI has passed the order only on the matters of the case and the official not referred to the reserve bank of India still a careful reading indicates that the RBI has not dictated in the matter and the order has been given with independent application of mind and if the petitioner is dissatisfied with the decision the remedies available under the law can be used and the court closes the contempt petition.

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Order reviewed by Naveen Sharma

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