Sunday 24 February 2019

Whether court can remove agent of court receiver While exercising contempt jurisdiction?

Disobedience of an undertaking may in the like manner be enforced through process other than committal to prison as for example where the breach of undertaking is to deliver possession of property in a landlord-tenant dispute. Apart from punishing the contemner, the court to maintain the majesty of law may direct the police force to be utilised for recovery of possession and burden the contemner with costs, exemplary or otherwise."

27. It is true, as pointed out by Mr. Kini, the learned counsel for the contemnor that the Supreme Court has observed, after incorporation of types of punishments in case of an established contempt that have been specified in the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, that no new type of punishment can be created or assumed. However, it cannot be said that making an order of injunction or a change in the agentship of a receiver, would be an order which imposes a new punishment. That order is an order to punish a wrong doing and to prevent the possibility of a further wrong doing and it may not be considered as the creation of a new type of punishment for contempt of court.

28. Now in the present case, the contemner breached the injunction order after he was appointed as an agent of the court receiver by order dated 13th & 14th October, 2003. He actually took charge as agent of the court receiver on 20th April, 2005. Indeed it would not have been possible for him to exploit the situation and part with possession of the premises for a commercial gain but for the fact that he was in a possession as an agent of the court receiver. In fact no party would have agreed to pay for using the said premises unless the contemnor had some semblance of authority and possession. In the circumstances, it is clear that the contemner can not be left to scrupulously avoid the judicial process and it is difficult to rely on his future conduct. Even accepting his undertaking may not serve the purpose since he appears to have inducted those persons in breach of the injunction order. In the circumstances of the case, I am of view that the contemner forfeited the trust with which he was appointed as agent of the receiver and ought to be deprived of his status as an agent.

High Court of Judicature at Bombay

V.D. Kavatkar, Registrar, Small Causes Court, Bombay vs. Fatima Huseni Radhapurwala & Others

(SUO MOTO) CONTEMPT PETITION NO.189 OF 2005, INT. NOTICE NO.660 of 2005, R.A.D. & E. SUIT NO.1155 of 1905 OF 2002

Decided On, 28 August 2007


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