Lower court can’t initiate contempt proceedings: HC

The Delhi High Court has said lower courts have no power to prosecute a person for contempt of court.

Last Updated: Aug 05, 2010, 23:20 PM 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.

-PTI