(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer)
By M Ahmad
Srinagar- The High Court of J&K and Ladakh on Thursday said that J&K Special Tribunal is not a“toothless body altogether” and possesses sufficient powers to deal with those who“dare to commit its contempt.”
“...the J&K Special Tribunal is not a toothless body altogether and is possessed of sufficient powers to deal with the citizens who dare to commit its contempt. Though it is ideal as also to make the functioning of the Tribunal effective to make an amendment in the Act of 1988 to confer upon it specifically the power to punish for contempt in relation to itself or any member thereof, as has been done in various statutes,” a bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar said.
“The Administrative Tribunals constituted under the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, National Company Law Tribunal and the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal constituted under the Companies Act have been specifically conferred the powers to punish for contempt of itself, which power is akin and identical to the power conferred upon the High Courts under Article 215 of the Constitution of India and Section 10 of the Contempt of Courts Act,” the court said, adding,“It is, however, for the Legislature vested with the power to legislate to take a call in this regard.”
The court made the observations while allowing a challenge regarding initiation of contempt proceedings by the J&K Special Tribunal regarding SMC authorities with regard to a building permission case.
While the Tribunal is not vested with any power, directly or indirectly, to punish for contempt in relation to itself or any member thereof, the court held that the Tribunal is conferred the power of Civil Court to punish a person for contempt in relation to itself or any member thereof under Rule 21 of the Jammu and Kashmir Special Tribunal Rules, 1986.
“Since the Civil Court is not vested with any power to punish a person for contempt in relation to itself, as such, such power should be understood to mean the power conferred upon a Civil Court under Order 39 Rule 2-A of the Code of Civil Procedure, to punish for disobedience of interim injunctions passed by a Civil Court under Rules 1 and 2 of Order 39 of the Code of Civil Procedure only,” the court said.
That would mean that the Tribunal too shall have jurisdiction to punish a person for disobedience of its interim orders of injunction passed to maintain the equilibrium or to preserve the list (complaint or petition) etc. etc, it said.
“..the Tribunal shall be deemed to be a“court” subordinate to the High Court for the purposes of Section 10 of the Contempt of Courts Act and, therefore, shall be well within its powers to refer an appropriate case to the High Court for initiating appropriate proceedings against the violators of its orders or against those who commit its criminal contempt.”
The Tribunal shall also be entitled to proceed under Section 345 of the Cr. P. C, where the contempt committed in the view of or in presence of the Tribunal is an offence described under Sections 175, 178, 179, 180 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code, the court added.
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