Contempt of Courts | Seema Sapra v. Court On Its Own Motion, Crl.A. No. 1238 of 2019 14-08-2019 SC

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA | A.M. Khanwilkar & Ajay Rastogi, JJ. Crl.A. No. 1238 of 2019 (Dairy No. 10342 of 2016) with (Interlocutory Application Nos. 128666 of 2017, 123144 of 2017, 122625 of 2017, 127773 of 2017, 30030 of 2018, 112422 of 2018 and 110313 of 2019 with W.P. (C) No.13 of 2018 (Alongwith C.M.P. No.4015 of 2018 and Interlocutory Application Nos.62789 of 2019, 99303 of 2019 and 61232 of 2019) & Writ Petition (C) No.1027 of 2018 (alongwith C.M.P. Nos.122904 of 2018 and 97450 of 2018) 14-08-2019



The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 – Section 19(1) – Utterances made by the appellant before the High Court – Whether the same would constitute criminal contempt in the face of the Court.

By this application, appellant has prayed that she may be permitted to place on record documents mentioned in paragraph Nos.10, 11 and 12 of the application which according to her are fraudulent, invalid and forged documents. The same were filed before the High Court of Delhi in Writ Petition (C) No.1280 of 2012 on behalf of General Electric Company, GE India Industrial Private Limited and GE Global Sourcing India Private Limited. As regards the contempt proceedings, in relation to which the instant criminal appeal arises, the question is limited to the utterances made by the appellant before the High Court on 6th May, 2014; and as to whether the same would constitute criminal contempt in the face of the Court. No other issue is required to be considered. Suffice it to observe that the stated documents have no relevance to the question required to be answered in the present criminal appeal regarding the alleged utterances made by the appellant before the Delhi High Court. The application is disposed of accordingly. [Para 21 & 22]

Recusal, at the asking of the litigating party, cannot be countenanced unless it deserves due consideration and is justified.

Indubitably, it is always open for a Judge to recuse at his own volition from a case entrusted to him by the Chief Justice. But, that may be a matter of his own choosing. Recusal, at the asking of the litigating party, cannot be countenanced unless it deserves due consideration and is justified. It must never be forgotten that an impartial Judge is the quintessence for a fair trial and one should not hesitate to recuse if there are just and reasonable grounds. At the same time, one cannot be oblivious of the duty of a Judge which is to discharge his responsibility with absolute earnestness, sincerity and being true to the oath of his/her office. [Para 9]

Constitution Bench – So long as the Court does not take up the appeal for final hearing, the question of referring the matter to a Five Judge Constitution Bench that too before the appeal is admitted cannot be countenanced.

Appellant has prayed that hearing of the appeal be referred to a Five Judge Constitution Bench of this Court. This prayer, to say the least, is premature. For, so long as the Court does not take up the appeal for final hearing, the question of referring the matter to a Five Judge Constitution Bench that too before the appeal is admitted cannot be countenanced. This application is disposed of while giving liberty to the appellant to persuade the Court at the time of final hearing of the appeal to refer the case to a Five Judge Constitution Bench. If the concerned Court finds merit in that submission, the Court may accede to that prayer. This application is disposed of accordingly. [Para 17]

Registry – Inasmuch as, the Registry is required to maintain and secure the record of all cases as per the Rules and if there is some error in the records, it is always open to the parties to bring it to the notice of the Court.

Appellant has sought direction against the Registry of this Court to ensure that the records of these cases are maintained properly. The grievance in this application is founded on some clerical error in the order passed by this Court in the past. It is seen that the same has been rectified. We are of the view that no general direction to the Registry as prayed is warranted. Inasmuch as, the Registry is required to maintain and secure the record of all cases as per the Rules and if there is some error in the records, it is always open to the parties to bring it to the notice of the Court. As and when such occasion arises in future, appropriate direction can be given by the Court. The application is disposed of accordingly. [Para 19 & 20]

Z+ Security – It may not be appropriate to permit the petitioner to approach different forums for overlapping issues concerning her security or her grievance regarding inaction of the Authorities to process her complaint regarding sexual harassment.

By this writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, the petitioner has sought mandamus against the respondents to ensure that the petitioner, who claims to be whistle­blower is not poisoned or harmed or harassed or targeted or followed in any manner and her complaint regarding sexual harassment against the two named members of the Supreme Court Bar Association be proceeded as per law. The petitioner has sought direction against respondent No.1 to immediately provide Z+ Security to her and full protection to ensure that she is not poisoned further or targeted or followed or threatened or intimidated.

Facts of the Case

One of the reliefs claimed in the application is that the cases be listed before a Bench not comprising of A.M. Khanwilkar, J. The apprehension of the appellant is founded on the allegation that she may not get justice from the Bench as Justice A.M. Khanwilkar is well acquainted with the Advocates who incidentally are members of the Supreme Court Bar Association against whom personal allegations have been made by her in the accompanying writ petition.One of the reliefs claimed in the application is that the cases be listed before a Bench not comprising of A.M. Khanwilkar, J. Be that as it may, after the matter was assigned to the Bench during the hearing, which lasted for more than two hours on 11th April, 2019, the appellant had orally suggested that this Bench should not hear the cases as has been noted in the said order. On that day, the Court reserved its order giving liberty to the appellant to file additional documents to reinforce her arguments on the merits of the contempt proceedings, as insisted by her during the oral submission. Instead of availing of that liberty, the appellant chose to file I.A. No.62789 of 2019 in Writ Petition (C) No.13 of 2018 praying for recusal of A.M. Khanwilkar, J. However, keeping in mind the totality of the situation, the Court declined her prayer as recorded in the order dated 12th July, 2019.

Petitioner’s Advocate : Petitioner-in-person

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