HC initiates contempt proceedings against Haryana CJM for ‘disobeying order’
The Punjab and Haryana high court has initiated contempt proceedings against a Haryana chief judicial magistrate, observing that prime facie he had violated court orders, which warranted disciplinary action.
The high court bench of justice Manoj Bajaj, while seeking response from Yamunanagar chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Arvind Kumar observed that the officer passed the order in question despite the HC directions being ‘absolutely clear and unambiguous’.
The CJM, in his January 13 order, had dismissed the plea of one Puran Chand Sharma, who upon the HC’s directions had approached the CJM court seeking release of the ₹1.1 lakh deposited by him in a criminal case. The judicial officer dismissed the plea for release of money observing that the February 2014 order, in which Sharma was asked to deposit the money ‘carried prohibition against the release of the amount till the disposal of the case, instead of trial’.
Justice Bajaj observed that after a court order, Sharma had deposited the requisite amount on March 3, 2014 with the trial court and was granted bail. As per conditions imposed at the time, it was ordered that the amount deposited would be finally adjusted against the claim of the complainant against the petitioner (Sharma), if any, in civil litigation. The trial ended with Sharma’s acquittal and thereafter, Sharma moved an application before the high court for directions to the CJM court to release the deposited amount. Acting on the same, the high court on November 6, 2020 had ordered that the amount deposited by the petitioner be refunded to him. However, the CJM dismissed the plea filed by Sharma for release of the said amount.
“ ..prima facie this court is of the opinion that the chief judicial magistrate, Yamunanagar at Jagadhri, while passing the impugned order has not only shown judicial indiscipline warranting disciplinary action, but has deliberately and wilfully disobeyed the orders of this Court and this amounts to contempt of Court,” justice Bajaj observed, issuing notice of motion on the plea for February 25.
The bench further observed that even though notices were yet to be served to Sharma against the appeal filed in that acquittal case, the trial court declined the prayer compelling him to seek clarification or direction from the high court. Apart from it, the condition contained in the February 2014 order was imposed in a pre-arrest bail matter and could not have been stretched beyond the conclusion of the trial, the bench added.
Sharma had to deposit the said money in securing a pre-arrest bail in a case of criminal intimidation among others charges registered at police station in Yamunanagar on September 16, 2012.