Karnataka High Court Has Initiated Suo Motu Cognizance Of The State’s Inaction Concerning Orders Under The Contempt Of Courts Act

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A division bench of Chief Justice NV Anjaria and Justice Krishna S dixit of The Karnataka High Court on initiated suo motu cognizance of the State authorities’ failure to comply with orders issued under the Contempt of Courts Act.

The bench said “The casual, lethargic and insensitive approach on the part of the authorities towards the compliance of the orders and directions of the courts cannot be tolerated. It has to be dealt with sternly. As the justice delayed is justice denied, too belated compliance is not to be countenanced, but has to be viewed as contempt of court itself committed in disguise or in indirect manner”.

The directive emphasized that a government’s dedication to democracy can be assessed by the level of deference it shows to the Court’s rulings.

The explanation highlighted that failing to comply with court orders and directives could undermine public trust in the judicial system. Emphasizing that both governmental and semi-governmental bodies play crucial roles in the administration of justice, the Court expressed concern over their tendency to delay the execution of court mandates.

The bench said “The judgments and orders passed by the courts of law are shelved for one or other reason, either out of lethargy or because of red-tapism. Such state of things is fatal to the interests of administration of justice, much more, it erodes the faith and confidence of a common man in the judicial machinery and judicial system”.

The Court emphasized that over the past two weeks, it had observed a lack of compliance by relevant authorities when handling petitions filed under the Contempt of the Courts Act. Eleven instances of such non-compliance were specifically outlined, revealing a disregard for the Court’s directives without valid justification.

Consequently, the Court served notice to the State of Karnataka, instructing its Registrar General to compile a comprehensive list of all state government departments to be included as respondents.

Furthermore, the Court underscored that entities such as semi-governmental bodies, statutory bodies, and corporations, as extensions of the State, share an equal responsibility in adhering to court judgments and orders. In light of this, notices were also issued to the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), and Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB).

The Court further noted that other corporations, semi-governmental bodies, and statutory entities may be required to be included as parties in subsequent proceedings.

The Court emphasized that the proceedings were not intended for fault-finding but rather aimed to streamline the process for complying with court orders and directives.

 The bench said “The beneficiaries are the class of litigants, who will be benefited if the authorities activate themselves to discharge their constitutional duty to obey and implement the orders of the courts without booking any delay on their part, without which, it will not be possible for the litigants to enjoy the results of the litigation which may have ended in their favour. All the more, the orders of the court are the source of rights and obligations of the litigants”.

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