‘Court orders can’t be flouted by using strong-arm tactics’

The Delhi High Court has sentenced a man to 45 days’ imprisonment after holding him guilty of contempt of court for demolishing a boundary wall erected with permission of the court on a disputed property.

“A strong message has to be sent to the society that the orders of the court cannot be flouted by using strong arm tactics,” Justice Subramonium Prasad said.

Legal dispute

The wall was constructed on the property in Burari here, where its owner, Nirmal Jindal and owner of the adjoining property, Shyam Sundar Tyagi, has an ongoing legal dispute with regards to its demarcation. The boundary wall was constructed on December 24, 2020, in terms of directions of the High Court.

On January 3, 2022, Mr. Tyagi, with the aid of some people, arrived on the premises and demolished the boundary wall. Following this, Ms. Jindal lodged an FIR at the Burari police station and also approached the High Court with the contempt petition.

Mr. Tyagi submitted that the demolition was carried out as he was under the misconception that the wall had been constructed on his land. He tendered an unconditional apology and prayed that he ought not be punished under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

The court, however, noted that the demolition of the boundary wall took place after more than a year of the construction of the boundary wall. This action was not in the heat of the moment and can only be construed as an attempt by Mr. Tyagi to willfully flout the court orders, Justice Prasad said.

‘Can’t plead ignorance’

The judge reminded Mr. Tyagi that the previous orders to construct the wall was passed by the court in his presence and hence, he cannot now plead ignorance regarding the area where the boundary wall had been built.

“The manner in which the demolition took place, i.e. by using a JCB excavator and with the aid of other people, also indicates that the Respondent No.1 [Mr. Tyagi] harboured the intention to terrorise the petitioner [Ms. Jindal],” the High Court said.

This demonstrates that Mr. Tyagi possesses scant regard towards the orders of the court, and has undermined the dignity of the court and outraged the majesty of law, the judge said.

“The purpose of contempt jurisdiction is to uphold the majesty and dignity of the courts of law, since the respect and authority commanded by the courts of law are the greatest guarantee to an ordinary citizen. The democratic fabric of society will suffer if respect for the judiciary is undermined,” the court said, adding that the acts done by Mr. Tyagi deserves no mercy.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2022 7:36:32 pm |