Lower courts can’t hear contempt proceedings: Delhi HC
Aug 05, 2010 at 1801 hrs IST
New Delhi The Delhi High Court has said lower courts have no power to prosecute a person for contempt of court.
Enumerating the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, Justice S N Dhingra said only higher courts can take cognisance of contempt committed by a person against lower judiciary.
“A perusal of provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act would show that a Court subordinate to High Court has no powers to initiate proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act. Under the Act, the High Court alone can take cognizance of an alleged contempt having been committed in respect of subordinate Courts,” the court said.
The Court said the decision of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in issuing a notice to two senior police officers for contempt proceedings was contrary to law.
“I find that the learned ACMM grossly exceeded his powers in issuing show cause notice as to why proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act be not initiated against the investigating officer and ACP,” the court said.
The ACMM had issued notices to two officials of Delhi Police after holding that their conduct lowered the reputation of the lower court.
Setting aside the order, the High Court said the alleged contemptuous conduct of the police officers should have brought to its notice and it would have then taken an appropriate action against them.
“A subordinate court is supposed to send a reference of the matter to the High Court. A subordinate court cannot itself assume jurisdiction under the Contempt of Courts Act and issue show cause notice as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated,” the court said.