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Manoj Kumar Agrawal v/s Puran Chandra Gupta & Another

    CONC. No. 425 of 2021

    Decided On, 25 February 2021

    At, High Court of Madhya Pradesh


    For the Appearing Parties: Manoj Kumar Agrawal, Advocate.

Judgment Text

Prakash Shrivastava, J.

1. This contempt petition under Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 has been filed by the petitioner for initiating the contempt proceedings against the respondent No.1 - 19th Additional District Judge and Commercial Court, Bhopal, who has decided the petitioner's application under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 by the order dated 09.01.2021.

2. Petitioner present in person submits that the respondent No.1 has committed a contempt by not referring and not following the binding precedents, which were filed by the petitioner along with the written arguments. He further submits that out of 23 precedents filed before the respondent No.1, 17 have not been referred in the order and 06 have not been followed deliberately. In support of his submission, he has placed reliance upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in the matter of Shri Baradakanta Mishra Ex-Commissioner of Endowments Vs. Shri Bhimsen Dixit, (1973) 1 SCC 446 and has further submitted that not following the binding precedent amounts to contempt of court.

3. We have heard the petitioner in person and perused the record.

4. There is a preliminary objection about the maintainability of the contempt petition raised by the office stating that the petitioner had remedy of filing MCC under Chapter-2, Rule 10 sub-rule (7) of the High Court of M.P. Rules, 2008 read with Section 10 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

5. Having regard to the nature of proceedings, the office objection is over ruled.

6. The petitioner had approached the respondent No.1 Commercial Judge by filing objection under Section 34 of the Act of 1996 against the award of the arbitrator dated 29.05.2019. The respondent No.1 after giving due hearing to the petitioner by a detailed reasoned order has rejected the same. The petitioner has placed reliance upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Shri Baradakanta Mishra (supra). In that case, the Supreme Court has held as under :

"16. Our view that a deliberate and a mala fide conduct of not following the binding precedent of the High Court is contumacious does not unduly enlarge the domain of contempt. It would not stifle a bona fide act of distinguishing the binding precedent, even though it may turn out to be mistaken."

7. As per the aforesaid pronouncement, if there is deliberate and mala fide conduct of not following the law laid down in the previous decision and there is disobedience of the specific order of a superior court then such conduct may fall within the purview of the law of contempt.

8. In the present case, the plea raised by the petitioner is that though 23 judgments were filed along with the written arguments but 17 have not been referred by the respondent while rejecting the application under Section 34 of the Act of 1996. It is not the case of the petitioner that all the 23 judgments were cited during the course of arguments before the respondent.

9. A perusal of the order passed by the respondent reveals that he has dealt with the arguments, which were advanced before him and the material, which was brought to his notice. We have minutely examined the order dated 09.01.2021 passed by the respondent and we are of the opinion that the respondent has not deliberately and malafidely ignored the judicial pronouncements, which were said to have been filed along with the written arguments. We are also of the view that there is no deliberate disobedience of any order of the superior court by the respondent. The Supreme Court in the matter of KANWAR SINGH SAINI Vs. HIGH COURT OF DELHI, (2012) 4 SCC 307 has held that :

"38. The contempt proceedings being quasicriminal in nature, the standard of proof required is in the same manner as in other criminal cases. The alleged contemnor is entitled to the protection of all safeguards/rights which are provided in the criminal jurisprudence, including the benefit of doubt. There must be a clear-cut case of obstruction of administration of justice by a party intentionally to bring the matter within the ambit of the said provision. The case should not rest only on surmises and conjectures. In Debabrata Bandhopadhyaya v. State of W.B., this Court observed as under:(AIR 193 9)

"9. A question whether there is contempt of court or not is a serious one. The court is both the accuser as well as the judge of the accusation. It behoves the court to act with as great circumspection as possible making all allowances for errors of judgment and difficulties arising from inveterate practices in courts and tribunals. It is only when a clear case of contumacious conduct not explainable otherwise, arises that the contemnor must be punished......... Punishment under the law of contempt is called for when the lapse is deliberate and in d

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isregard of one's duty and in defiance of authority. To take action in an unclear case is to make the law of contempt do duty for other measures and is not to be encouraged." 10. Having regard to the factual position, we are of the opinion that no case for initiating the contempt proceedings against the respondent is made out. 11. It is made clear that no other point was urged and no other material was pointed out by the petitioner during the course of argument. 12. Contempt Petition is accordingly dismissed.