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Karnataka HC allows Contempt Petition against accused, orders Imprisonment for misleading the court

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The Contempt Petition has been filed before the High court of Karnataka under section 12(1) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 contending that the accused has indulged in acts amounting to criminal contempt of this Court including the abuse of judicial process before the trial Court. Therefore complainant has sought for the punishment to accused of contempt of court was allowed.

Facts of the case

Dr. Leena Vijaykumar/ complaint medical practitioner and Indu Kumari entered into an “agreement of sale” to purchase the property. Since, Indu Kumari having not executed the sale deed, the complainant had filed a suit for specific performance in O.S.No.16494 of 2005. On 27.05.2005 an order of injunction restraining Indu Kumari from alienating the schedule property had been passed. Contrary to that Indu Kumari executed a sale deed in favour of V. Ramesh Babu on 16.03.2007 and Ramesh Babu mortgaged the same to Bengaluru City Cooperative Bank Limited for Rs.24,25,000/- on 20.09.2007.

Immediately on coming to know of the same, the complainant had filed an application to implead the accused in the said suit. However, the accused had contended that he was not a necessary party and hence, the impleading application came to be rejected by the trial Court on 01.09.2008. Later the accused failed to repay the mortgage debt to Bengaluru City Cooperative Bank Limited and the Bengaluru City Cooperative Bank Limited had initiated proceedings under Section 13 of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 by issuing a public notification dated 31.01.2009. The complainant challenged the same by filing a Writ Petition in W.P.No.4907 of 2009 before the Court, which came to be disposed of on 03.03.2009 observing that the purchase by the accused was lis pendens.

The accused, in order to prolong the trial, weaved many situations to obstruct the enjoyment of the schedule property by the complainant. The application filed by the complainant under Order XXI Rule 35(3) was allowed and the possession of the property was delivered to the complainant through the process of the Court on 12.07.2017.

The accused has filed numerous litigations which are an abuse of the process of the Court which has resulted in the accused obstructing the due course of judicial proceedings and administration of justice and hence applied to the learned Advocate General for Karnataka seeking for permission to prosecute the accused of criminal contempt. The said application No.2 of 2018 filed under Section 15(1)(b) of Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 was considered by the Advocate General and he granted consent to the applicant/complainant herein to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the respondent/accused on 04.04.2018. Pursuant to which, the present complaint was filed on 06.04.2018.

Analysis of the court

“The acts committed by the accused cannot be said to be innocent. The proceedings initiated by the accused are in order to prevent the complainant from enjoying the usufructs of the decree. The proceedings initiated by the accused establish the utter disregard that the accused has towards the orders of this court and are aimed only to interfere with the course of justice and administration thereof. Such actions cannot be pardoned under any circumstances. We are conscious of the fact that the contempt jurisdiction should be exercised sparingly. However, no litigant can seek to subvert the system established for the administration of justice.

On account of various litigations which have been initiated by the accused, the complainant has been forced to defend various unnecessary proceedings. The complainant had entered into an agreement of sale on 16.03.2007 and filed a suit in O.S.No.16494 of 2005 wherein a decree came to be passed on 29.01.2011. Due to the complicity between the vendor Smt. Indu Kumari and the accused herein the accused has purchased the property during the pendency of the injunction order. He has set up Karnataka Dalit Sangharsha Samithi and certain others to delay the complainant from exercising rights over the property.

Decision of the Court

  1. The criminal Contempt petition is allowed.
  2. We hold that the accused has committed gross contempt of court as defined under Section 2 (c)(ii)(iii) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.
  3. The accused is sentenced to imprisonment for a period of four months along with a fine of Rs.2,000/- to be paid before the registry of this Court within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgment. Failure to remit the fine amount will entail the accused to undergo further imprisonment for a period of one month.”

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