Delhi HC Imposes Unique Contempt Punishment, Man Ordered to Stay in Court Until Adjournment

Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court found that a petitioner alleging unauthorized construction was willing to accept money from the opposing party to withdraw his case. As a punishment for contempt, the court directed him to remain in the courtroom until it adjourned.

A division bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh and Justice Amit Sharma determined that the 62-year-old petitioner had approached the court as “an attempt to leverage the judicial system for his personal gain.” Consequently, he was directed to remain in the court until its adjournment for the day and to deposit Rs 1 lakh into the account of the Delhi High Court Legal Service Committee.

The court stated that it was taking a “lenient view” of the sentence due to the contemnor’s medical condition and age, as well as his expression of remorse and apology for his actions. It emphasized that the law on contempt is intended to protect the authority and dignity of the court from acts that grossly disrespect or hinder its functioning. The petitioner was found guilty of contempt of court under Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act.

“The fact that the Contemnor was willing to negotiate and extract money from the Respondents for the withdrawal of the writ petition is, in the opinion of this Court, completely contemptuous. It shows utter disregard and abuse of the Court’s process, which the Court cannot condone,” stated the bench.

“Such conduct of any person to abuse the judicial process cannot be ignored or left unpunished… The Contemnor is accordingly sentenced to remain in the Court till the rising of the Court today. In addition, the Contemnor shall deposit a sum of Rs 1 lakh to the Delhi High Court Legal Service Committee,” the court ordered.

The contemnor had filed a petition in 2021 seeking action against unauthorized construction on certain land parcels in Burari. Subsequently, one of the parties allegedly involved in the unauthorized construction claimed that the contemnor demanded Rs 50 lakh for withdrawing the writ petition.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte