The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued contempt notice to the Chennai Corporation Commissioner taking a serious view of an order passed by the Corporation revoking the permission to demolish a property despite a Supreme Court direction to that effect.
A Bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra said, “This is a typical case of a litigant trying to take this court for a ride.”
It issued contempt notice to the Commissioner, the Corporation, as well as to petitioner D.M. Belgamvala “to show cause why they should not be punished for contempt of court for trying to take this court for a ride and set at naught our order dated May 14, 2010.”
The Bench also took exception to order of interim stay of eviction of the tenant passed by the Madras High Court even after the dismissal of the Special Leave Petition (SLP). It said, “We are surprised that the Madras High Court has flouted the order of this court dismissing the SLP on May 14, 2010. This was not expected of the Madras High Court. Judicial discipline requires that the High Courts should not try to override orders passed by this court. Such a defiant attitude of the High Courts will not be tolerated by this court.”
In this case, the landlord, Tamil Nadu Real Estate (P) Ltd., had filed an eviction petition against Mr. Belgamvala, petitioner-tenant, which had been decreed by the courts below, including the High Court. The SLP against this order was dismissed by the Supreme Court on May 14 and the petitioner (tenant) was granted six months time to vacate the premises. Despite this undertaking, the petitioner did not vacate and instead filed an application on November 12 for a direction that he need not vacate the premises till final orders were passed in the Review Petition.
The Bench said, “In our opinion, this application is a sheer abuse of the process of the court. Along with the application an order dated June 18, 2010 of the Commissioner, the Corporation of Chennai has been filed purporting to revoke the permission to demolish the property in question. We are of the opinion that the Commissioner, Corporation of Chennai, is hand in glove with the petitioner and it is for this reason that he has passed this collusive and contemptuous order dated June 18 merely to get over our order dismissing the SLP on May 14.”
The Bench said, “If the petitioner or anyone tries to obstruct this order, he should know now that he will definitely be sent to jail…”
The Bench sought a report from the Registrar General, Madras High Court, how and why a stay order was granted.