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Contempt of court arose when – To hold the respondents or anyone of them liable for contempt this Court has to arrive at a conclusion that the respondents have wilfully disobeyed the order of the Court. The exercise of contempt jurisdiction is summary in nature and an adjudication of the liability of the alleged contemnor for wilful disobedience of the Court is normally made on admitted and undisputed facts.

published in   http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40722 

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

CONTEMPT PETITION NO.3 OF 2012
IN
CONTEMPT PETITION NO.6 & 7 OF 2009
IN
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 503 of 2007

Noor Saba … Petitioner (s)

Versus

Anoop Mishra & Anr. … Respondent (s)

J U D G M E N T

RANJAN GOGOI, J.

1. The contempt petitioner had filed a writ petition under Article 32 of
the Constitution [W.P.(C) No. 503 of 2007] raising a plea that after her
husband had passed away in the year 1980, while serving as the Headmaster
in Government Public School, Rampur under the Uttar Pradesh Basic Shiksha
Parishad, a meagre and inadequate amount of family pension was being paid
to her leaving her in a dire state of penury and distress. The writ
petition in question was filed before this Court even while a writ
proceeding on the same issue was pending before the Allahabad High Court.
Notwithstanding the above, taking into account the peculiar facts of the
case, particularly, the distress that the petitioner claimed to be
suffering from, this Court entertained the writ petition and disposed of
the same by the order dated 29.7.2008 in the following terms :

“Keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case, we direct
that the family pension of the petitioner shall be determined in
terms of Government Order dated 24.2.1989 and other necessary
orders issued from time to time revising the family pension. This
exercise shall be done within a period of three months from today.
After the family pension is determined in terms of the various
Government Orders on the subject and the amount of arrears be
calculated, the same shall be paid to the petitioner after
deducting the payments already made to her on account of family
pension. With the abovesaid direction, the writ petition is
disposed of. No order as to costs.” [Para 12]

2. While disposing of the writ petition in the above terms by order
dated 29.7.2008, this Court had recorded certain facts which being relevant
to the present proceedings are being noticed hereinafter.
The petitioner’s husband late Masood Umer Khan was initially
appointed as an Assistant Teacher in the year 1959 and he was holding the
post of Headmaster in the Government Public School, Rampur when he passed
away on 5.4.1980. The petitioner was granted family pension at the rate of
Rs. 200/- per month which was later revised to Rs. 425/-. The revised
amount was reduced to Rs. 375/- per month and an attempt was made to
recover the excess amount allegedly overdrawn by the petitioner. The
aforesaid action of the State was challenged by the petitioner in a writ
proceeding before the Allahabad High Court which was, however, dismissed on
4.3.2005. Aggrieved, an intra-court appeal was filed against the said
order dated 4.3.2005 in which an interim order was passed directing
continuance of payment of family pension to the petitioner at the rate of
Rs. 425/- per month. While the matter was so situated the writ petition
under Article 32 of the Constitution [W.P. (C) No. 503/2007] was filed
before this Court which was disposed of in terms of the directions already
noticed and extracted above.

3. Alleging that the directions issued by this Court on 29.7.2008 while
disposing of W.P. (C) No. 503/2007 had not been implemented Contempt
Petition (C) No. 6/2009 was filed. Simultaneously, another contempt
petition i.e. Contempt Petition(C) No. 7/2009 was instituted contending
that in the proceedings in W.P.(C) No. 503/2007 certain forged and
fabricated documents were placed by the official respondents before this
Court which amounted to an abuse of the process of the Court for which the
respondents in the writ petition are liable in contempt.

4. In the course of hearing of Contempt Petition (C) Nos. 6 and 7/2009
this Court had passed an order dated 1.9.2010 to the following effect :

“It is grievance of the petitioner that in spite of the
above order the respondents have not settled the family pension
as directed. Though learned counsel representing the State of
U.P. states that the eligible pension has been settled and is
being paid, in view of the stand taken by the petitioner, we
direct the Accountant General, U.P. at Allahabad to go into the
grievance of the petitioner in terms of the order passed by this
Court vide para 12 which we had extracted and determine the
amount payable till this date and report to this Court within a
period of six weeks.

List after the report is received.”
5. Contending that the aforesaid directions dated 1.9.2010 has not been
complied with Contempt Petition (C) No. 3 of 2012 has been instituted by
the petitioner.
6. Two significant facts which would render it wholly unnecessary to
adjudicate Contempt Petitions No. 6 and 7 of 2009 may be taken note of at
this stage. The first is that by virtue of the order dated 1.9.2010 passed
in the aforesaid two contempt petitions the issues before the Court have
become crystallized in a somewhat different manner and the adjudication
that would be necessary now has changed its complexion to one of compliance
of the directions contained in the order of this Court dated 1.9.2010 by
the Accountant General of the State of Uttar Pradesh. The second
significant fact is that no serious issue has been raised on behalf of the
petitioner with regard to the necessity of any further adjudication of
Contempt Petitions No. 6/2009 and 7/2009 and the entire of the arguments
advanced on behalf of the petitioner has centred around the issues arising
in Contempt Petition No. 3/2012. We, therefore, proceed to consider
Contempt Petition No. 3/2012 and deem it appropriate to close Contempt
Petition Nos. 6/2009 and 7/2009 as not requiring any further orders of the
Court.

7. In Contempt Petition No. 3/2012 the contempt petitioner had claimed
that the Accountant General, State of Uttar Pradesh has not taken any steps
to comply with the order/directions dated 1.9.2010 of this Court and has
not calculated the amount of pension payable to the petitioner. The
contempt petitioner has further alleged that inspite of the repeated
reminders the default on the part of the Accountant General, State of Uttar
Pradesh, had persisted. Furthermore, it is the case of the contempt
petitioner that she is an old lady of 72 years of age who has been
unjustly deprived of the pension due to her ever since her husband had
passed away on 5.4.1980 while he was still in service.

8. The Respondent No. 1 in the contempt petition, namely, the Chief
Secretary of the State of Uttar Pradesh has responded to the allegations
made in the contempt petition by filing an affidavit wherein it is stated
that the arrears of salary and pension, including revised pension at the
rate of Rs. 3058/- per month, has been and is being paid to the petitioner
on a regular basis. According to the Chief Secretary, the amount of
pension has been calculated on the basis of Rs. 620/- as the last pay drawn
by the petitioner’s husband. Furthermore, according to the Chief
Secretary, the difference in pension and the arrears accruing on account of
revision of pension following the 6th Pay Commission Report has also been
deposited in the bank account of the petitioner (No. 2622) in the District
Cooperative Bank, Rajdwara, Rampur. Alongwith his affidavit, the Chief
Secretary of the State has also enclosed the certificate of the last pay
drawn by the petitioner’s husband which clearly indicates the same to be
Rs. 620/- per month.

9. The Respondent No. 2 in the contempt petition, namely, the Accountant
General of the State of Uttar Pradesh has also filed an affidavit stating
the facts relevant to the case and asserting that the calculations made by
the Office of the Basic Shiksha Adhikari, Rampur with regard to family
pension due to the petitioner corresponds to the calculation of such
pension made by the office of the Accountant General and that there is no
apparent error in the calculation with regard to the pensionary
entitlements of the petitioner.

10. The order dated 1.9.2010 passed by this Court in Contempt Petition
Nos. 6/2009 and 7/2009 required the Accountant General of the State to
determine the correct amount of family pension payable to the petitioner in
accordance with the order dated 29.7.2008 passed by this Court in W.P.(C)
No. 503/2007. It is the categorical stand of the Accountant General in the
affidavit filed that the said order of this Court has been complied with by
him. In this regard the specific statement of the Accountant General which
is to the following effect may be taken note of :

“However as per the calculations obtained by the office of
the respondent from the office of the Basic Shiksha Adhikari,
Rampur, the amount of the family pension mentioned therein is
found to be the same as that of the amount determined by the
office of the respondent as per the order of this Hon’ble Court
and mentioned in the letter report dt. 4.11.2010. Hence there
appears to be no difference in calculations of amount by the
office of Respondent and the dept. of petitioner.” (Para 6 of
the Affidavit dated 16.3.2012)
11. Following the above stand taken by the Accountant General in his
affidavit there has been a significant alteration in the stand of the
petitioner as evident from the additional affidavit/rejoinder affidavit
filed by her to the counter affidavit of the respondent No. 2. The
petitioner now seeks to raise a dispute with regard to the last pay drawn
by her husband which she contends to be Rs. 1620/- and not Rs.
620/-. On the aforesaid basis the claim to a higher amount of pension has
been made by the petitioner. Though, the petitioner has brought on record
some material in support of the said claim, i.e., another last pay drawn
certificate showing the same as Rs. 1620/- and some extracts from the
service book of her husband, the fact remains that the aforesaid documents
relied upon by the petitioner stand contradicted by the last pay drawn
certificate brought on record by the Accountant General in his affidavit as
also the statements made by the Chief Secretary to the effect that the last
pay drawn by the petitioner’s husband was Rs. 620/- per month. Disputed
questions of fact therefore confront this Court.

12. To hold the respondents or anyone of them liable for contempt this
Court has to arrive at a conclusion that the respondents have wilfully
disobeyed the order of the Court. The exercise of contempt jurisdiction is
summary in nature and an adjudication of the liability of the alleged
contemnor for wilful disobedience of the Court is normally made on admitted
and undisputed facts. In the present case not only there has been a shift
in the stand of the petitioner with regard to the basic facts on which
commission of contempt has been alleged even the said new/altered facts do
not permit an adjudication in consonance with the established principles of
exercise of contempt jurisdiction so as to enable the Court to come to a
conclusion that any of the respondents have wilfully disobeyed the order of
this Court dated 1.9.2010. We, accordingly, hold that no case of
commission of any contempt of this Court’s order dated 1.9.2010 is made
out. Consequently, Contempt Petition No. 3/2012 is dismissed. For reasons
already recorded, Contempt Petition Nos. 6/2009 and 7/2009 shall also
stand closed.
………………..……………….…CJI
[P. SATHASIVAM]

 

…………………..……………….………J.
[RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI]

 

………………..………………….………J.
[RANJAN GOGOI]

NEW DELHI,
SEPTEMBER 2, 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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