The Judicial Magistrate, Ist Class, Kangan, directed the appearance of the parties before it, in connection with the notice and the response.
Refusing to appear, both CMS and TI contended that while was open to the Magistrate to make a reference to the High Court, under the Contempt of Courts Act, the Magistrate had no right to suo motu initiate proceedings, under the Act.
They also pointed out that the Magistrate had no authority to direct their presence, under contempt proceedings, and on their refusal, secure their presence through bailable warrants. The Supreme Court accepted this contention.
The Supreme Court agreed with their contention that even when contempt was alleged to have been committed against a subordinate court, only the High Court and not the subordinate court, against which the contempt is alleged to have been committed, has jurisdiction to initiate contempt proceedings. The subordinate court concerned, at best, can make a reference to the High Court in this connection.
The Supreme Court held that it is then for the High Court to decide whether cognizance and initiation of contempt proceedings need to be taken.
On the question of the accused appearing before the Magistrate, the Supreme Court held that it is optional. In case if they don’t appear, the Magistrate may pass such an order, as he considers appropriate, in consonance with law, the bench held, and added that such an order can be challenged if the accused are aggrieved with it. The Supreme Court thus set aside the Magistrate’s order of arrest.
Written and published by www.livelaw.in/