Supreme Court reiterates that Wilful Disobedience is Necessary to Constitute Civil Contempt

Must Read

Kerala High Court Rejects Writ Petition for Rejection of Loan Application

Case: Anvardeen. K v. Union of India. Coram: Justice P.V. Asha On 24th November 2020, The Kerala High Court involving a...

Supreme Court: Maritime Board Must Not Wallow in Inaction and Be Arbitrary in Its Contractual Duties

A Division Bench of the Supreme Court held that a State instrumentality such as the Maritime Board is expected...

Supreme Court: Right to Property Is a Constitutional Right, the Essence of Rule of Law Protects It

A Division Bench of the Supreme Court has held that permitting the State to assert indefinite right upon one’s...

Madras High Court Directs Tahsildar To Issue Origin Certificates To Two Sisters in Two Writ Petitions

Two Writ Petitions by two siblings was filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. The petitions owed to...

Delhi High Court Directs Centre and Delhi Govt To Consider a PIL Seeking Paid Menstrual Leave as Representation

The Delhi High Court had provided direction to consider a petition as representation. The Central and Delhi governments were...

Follow us

The Appellant had filed a contempt petition against the Respondent. That the Respondent failed to follow the directions of the Industrial Tribunal. The Tribunal had ordered the Respondent to regularize and departmentalise the concerned workers in the Food Corporation of India. These workers were working through contract labour cooperative societies and private contractors. The award of the Tribunal attained its finality when the Supreme Court upheld the award.

Arguments

The Appellants contended that the Respondent failed to comply with the directions of the Tribunal. Under the Departmental Labour System, the Tribunal ordered a regularisation. The Tribunal’s Award, therefore, mandates this as per the Appellants. However, the Respondent regularized the workers under the Direct Payment System. So, the Appellant filed the civil contempt petition. 

On the contrary, the Award as per the Respondent did not specify the department under which workers are to be regularised. The Award, on the contrary, didn’t specify the department under which the workers are regularised. Neither did it specify the issue of the department before the Tribunal nor referred to in the Appeal. Moreover, the Respondent contended that the Departmental Labour System was a dying cadre and hence the labourers were regularised under the Direct Payment System. It is, therefore, argued that this is not a case of disobedience, much less willful disobedience of the order. 

Court’s Observation 

The Court referred to its decision in Ram Kishan v Tarun Bajaj & Ors., (2014) 16 SCC 204. In this case, the Court laid down the law regarding initiating civil contempt action. While the contempt jurisdiction of the court is a powerful weapon, the Courts have to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt. And to punish a contemnor, the “willful” disobedience of the contemnor has to be established. Therefore, in the words of the Court: 

“…there has to be a calculated action with an evil motive on his part. Even if there is disobedience of an order, but such disobedience is the result of some compelling circumstances under which it was not possible for the contemnor to comply with the order, the contemnor cannot be punished”

Hence, the Court observed that disobedience must be willful, deliberate, and with full knowledge of consequences flowing therefrom. 

The Court then noted that the award of the Tribunal which was later upheld by this Court did not specify the department to which the workers were to be regularised. A general order to regularise and departmentalise the workers was issued by the Tribunal. Since the Departmental Labour System was in a dying cadre, the Respondent had regularised the workers in Direct Payment System. In this regard, the Respondent did not fail to comply with the directions issued by the Tribunal. Hence, there was no wilful disobedience of the said order.

Court’s Decision

The Court, observing that the Tribunal did not issue a specific direction to the Respondent, affirmed that the Respondent had complied with the order. It further said, that there is no contempt action against the General order. So, the Court dismissed the Appeal. 


Libertatem.in is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgements from the court. Follow us on Google News, InstagramLinkedInFacebook & Twitter. You can also subscribe for our Weekly Email Updates. You can also contribute stories like this and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest News

Supreme Court : High Courts Have Sole Authority Under Article 226 To Decide Validity of Tax Provision, Even if Matter Is Sub-Judice Before Income...

A Full Bench of the Supreme Court held that the validity of a provision is a serious matter which could only be decided by...

Kerala High Court Rejects Writ Petition for Rejection of Loan Application

Case: Anvardeen. K v. Union of India. Coram: Justice P.V. Asha On 24th November 2020, The Kerala High Court involving a single bench judge of the...

Supreme Court: Maritime Board Must Not Wallow in Inaction and Be Arbitrary in Its Contractual Duties

A Division Bench of the Supreme Court held that a State instrumentality such as the Maritime Board is expected to act without any arbitrariness...

Supreme Court: Right to Property Is a Constitutional Right, the Essence of Rule of Law Protects It

A Division Bench of the Supreme Court has held that permitting the State to assert indefinite right upon one’s property, without any legal sanction...

Madras High Court Directs Tahsildar To Issue Origin Certificates To Two Sisters in Two Writ Petitions

Two Writ Petitions by two siblings was filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. The petitions owed to the fact that they were...

Delhi High Court Directs Centre and Delhi Govt To Consider a PIL Seeking Paid Menstrual Leave as Representation

The Delhi High Court had provided direction to consider a petition as representation. The Central and Delhi governments were directed to consider the same....

Madras High Court Reiterates That ‘Ignorance of Law’ Is Not an Excuse and Dismisses Petition by a Constable

A Constable committed bigamy and deserted his service for more than 21 days. After dismissal from his service, he moved to Tamil Nadu Administrative...

Transfer of Winding-up Proceedings Allowed Under S. 434, Restrictions Under 2016 Rules To Not Apply: Allahabad High Court

This appeal relates to the question of transfer of winding-up proceeding from the High Court (Company Court) to the NCLT.  Facts M/s. Girdhar Trading Company, 2nd...

Constitutional Court of South Africa Declares Provisions of Domestic Workers’ Injury Compensation Legislation To Be Unconstitutional

The Constitutional Court of South Africa in Sylvia Mahlangu v Minister of Labour , declared parts of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases...

Bail Granted Under Section 167(2) CrPC Can Be Cancelled Under Section 439(2) CrPC: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court held that the right of default bail of the Accused can be cancelled under Section 439(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code. Facts...

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -