The Delhi High Court stated that the maintainability of an appeal under Section 19 is reliant upon a contemnor being guilty or punished under the law and in no other scenario. The appeal mechanism under the Contempt of Courts Act, of 1971 is exceedingly limited and regulated. This was seen in the case of SAROJINI NAGAR JHUGGI JHOPRI VIKAS SAMITI Vs. SHRI SURESH KUMAR & ORS (CONT.APP. (C) 22/2022) and the case was presided over by HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SURESH KUMAR KAIT and HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SAURABH BANERJEE.
FACTS OF THE CASE
As per facts, the appellant is an unregistered organization of the resident slum dwellers of Sarojini Nagar residing in Jhuggis in and around Sarojini Nagar Government Housing Complex for decades who are catering as help to all the residents therein.
Sarojini Nagar Jhuggi Jhopri Vikas Samiti filed an appeal against a single judge order rejecting its contempt petition. The single court determined in an order dated July 6, 2022, that the disputed cluster was not a notified cluster, and as a result, the respondents’ proposed demolition action did not violate the rulings made in Ajay Maken & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. Accordingly, the single judge had stated that the intended demolition would not subject the court to a contempt charge for wilful disregard of the ruling in the Ajay Maken case.
The Division Bench observed that an appeal only becomes viable once the court has used its authority to find a contemnor guilty, it is said that an order dismissing a petition for contempt is not subject to dispute.
The court further took note of the fact that other JJ residents who are included in the appellant organization in addition to Jhuggi Jhopri Vikas Samiti, Netaji Nagar, have previously submitted at least 10 writ petitions to this Court.
“Not only that, but some JJ dwellers therein have also obtained favourable orders in their favor. 11. Also, we are in complete consonance with the order of the learned Single Judge, who, according to us, has rightly held that the action of the respondents in demolishing the Clusters is not violative of the orders of this Court in Ajay Maken,” it added.
The division bench dismissed the appeal and affirmed the challenged judgment by stating that there are no circumstances that would lead one to believe the respondents are guilty of any crime.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ABHINAV SHUKLA.