w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Prof. Pradeep K. Sharma v/s Dasari Seetha Nadu

    C.A. No. 1 of 2018

    Decided On, 16 September 2022

    At, High Court of Andhra Pradesh

    By, THE HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE MR. PRASHANT KUMAR MISHRA & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE D.V.S.S. SOMAYAJULU

    For the Appellant: Prabhakar Sripada, Advocate. For the Respondent: N. Ravi Prasad, Advocate.



Judgment Text

Oral Judgment:

D.V.S.S. Somayajulu, J.

This Contempt Appeal has been filed questioning the order dated 22.12.2017 in C.C.No.786 of 2017 by which the appellant was sentenced to pay a fine of Rs.2,000/-, in default, he was sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment for three (3) days.

This Court has heard Sri Prabhakar Sripada, learned counsel for the appellant and Sri N.Ravi Prasad for the respondent.

The matter was argued at length by Sri Prabhakar Sripada. By relying on his grounds of appeal, he submits that there is improper appreciation of law and the explanation offered by the appellant is not considered at all by the single Judge. It is his contention that the judgments cited by the appellant were not actually considered and applied in their proper perspective. He also points out that in the facts and circumstances of the case, the Andhra Pradesh Revised Pension Rules are not applicable at all to the case and that therefore the order is incapable of being executed. Learned counsel laid stress on the fact that there is no willful disobedience as the last drawn pay etc., were not determined. The calculation of pension is not actually possible as per him. Therefore, he submits that since it is not practicable or feasible, the order could not be complied with and that consequently there is no willful disobedience of the Court order. It is also submitted that when a vacate stay application has been filed, it should be considered first before the contempt application is taken up and this aspect is overlooked by the learned Judge. He also points out that there is no direction to give last drawn pay to the petitioner. Lastly, he also submits that this Court while hearing a contempt appeal cannot enhance the punishment and that this Court can either confirm the punishment or reduce the same. He relies upon the case law which is submitted by him including Niaz Mohammad and others v. State of Haryana and others (1994) 6 SCC 332) and other cases to argue that the distinction between willful disobedience and order being not capable of implementation should be kept in mind.

In reply to this, Sri N.Ravi Prasad argues and submits that sequence of events which are filed and described clearly show that the interim order was passed long after the writ was admitted. As the present appellant did not appear in Court on two occasions, after hearing the counsel for the writ petitioner, the order was passed. Therefore, he submits that it is not an ex parte order that has been passed.

In the alternative, he also submits that the vacate stay petition has been filed after the notice in the contempt application was the taken up. He submits that this is again a ruse to avoid the compliance of the Court order. He also submits that even the vacate stay petition has been dismissed on merits on 19.08.2021 and the writ petition alone is pending for disposal even till date and the interim order has not been complied with according to the counsel. Lastly, he also submits that the issues raised about the non practicability or difficulty in implementation etc., are not clearly pleaded, let alone proved. It is his contention that the current argument of the learned counsel for the appellant is not borne out by his appeal grounds.

Lastly, relying upon the case of Prithawi Nath Ram v. State of Jharkhand and others (2004) 7 SCC 261), learned counsel argues that if the party is of the opinion that the implementation is neither practicable nor feasible, it should always approach the Court that passed the order or invoke the jurisdiction of the Appellate Court. But on the alleged ground that it is not practicable, they cannot delay the implementation. He points out that the conduct of the appellant is clearly contumacious and that the punishment that is imposed is correct. A retired employee has still not succeeded in getting any relief till date because of the conduct of the appellant. He, therefore, submits that there are no merits in the contempt appeal.

COURT:

The law on the subject is very clear. The first and foremost duty of the respondents in cases like this is to implement the order passed by the Court. The rightness or wrongness of the order cannot be urged in contempt proceedings. Right or wrong, the order has to be obeyed. Flouting an order of the Court would render the party liable for contempt (para 8 of Prithawi Nath Ram’s case).

With regard to the submission that the vacate stay petition should first be taken up, this Court is of the opinion that the learned single Judge did not commit any error in this matter. The sequence of events shows that the interim order was only passed after the petitioner failed to appear in the Court on 18.01.2017 and 20.01.2017. In para 18 of the impugned order, the sequence of dates are clearly noted. On 06.04.2016, writ petition was admitted, thereafter in January, 2017, the matter was called and as there was no representation for the respondents, the interim order was passed. Therefore, it is not an ex parte order passed at the very inception of the proceedings without hearing the respondents. It is an order passed in the situation mentioned above. The learned single Judge also noticed while passing the impugned order that after the notice in the contempt case was issued, the vacate stay application was filed. In addition, the application to vacate the interim order was also dismissed on merits on 19.08.2021. This is also a factor which can be taken into consideration since this is inter se the parties and is not in dispute. Therefore, this Court is of the opinion that the single Judge did not commit any error in not disposing the vacate stay petition before ordering the Contempt.

Even otherwise, the alleged difficulty in implementation theory that is now advanced does not appear to be very correct. It is also not borne out by the record. The grounds of appeal in the present case deal essentially with improper appreciation of law; that the explanation that was offered is not considered and that the Revised Pension Rules are not applicable. Even, if there was a difficulty in the implementation of the order, the case law relied upon by the learned single Judge in Prithawi Nath Ram’s case (1 supra) is clearly applicable. In para 8, the Hon’ble Supreme Court clearly said as follows:

8. If any party concerned is aggrieved by the order which in its opinion is wrong or against rules or its implementation is neither practicable nor feasible, it should always either approach the court that passed the order or invoke jurisdiction of the appellate court.

The appellant in this case has not approached the Court that passed the order by bringing out the alleged difficulties, nor did it approach the Appellate Court citing the above mentioned difficulties. Only in the contempt appeal verbal submissions are made about the alleged difficulties. This Court is satisfied that the grounds urged or the alleged difficulty or impracticability is not borne out by record. As an interim measure, in order to avoid contempt, the appellant could have complied with the order with a reservation or rider that it would be subject to the final decision. They did not choose to do so and on the other hand are arguing that it is not practicable. The fact remains that an order passed in January, 2017 is still not complied with.

Therefore, after considering the facts, the submissions and the case law, this Court is of the opinion that there is no reason for

Please Login To View The Full Judgment!

this Court to interfere with the order of the learned single Judge dated 22.12.2017 passed in C.C.No.786 of 2017. As far as the docket order dated 30.06.2022 is concerned, this Court holds that the appellant is on a stronger ground. This Court issued a notice to the appellant as to why the punishment cannot be enhanced. A reply has been filed on 26.07.2022 bringing to the notice of this Court the provisions of section 19 of the Contempt of Courts Act and the power of this Court. This Court agrees with the submission of the learned counsel for the appellant that this Court cannot now enhance the punishment. Therefore, the Contempt Appeal is dismissed confirming the order of learned single Judge dated 22.12.2017 in C.C.No.786 of 2017. As a sequel, the miscellaneous petitions if any shall stand dismissed.
O R