Centre Proposed In Draft SOP: Judges Not To Hear Contempt Proceedings Which Relates To Their Own Order


The Centre proposed a draft Standard Operating Procedure, SOP with regards to the appearance of the Government officials and the contempt proceedings which are initiated against the government officials.
The Centre suggested that the judges should not adjudicate contempt proceedings which relates to their own order, wherein the Centre relied on the maxim that no judge can be a judge in their own cause.
It has also been suggested by the SOP that in the case of criminal contempt, the said court should punish officials only if the said act was ‘willful’.
The draft of SOP stated that no contempt should be initiated in case of statements made in court by counsel appearing for the government which being contrary to the stand of the Government affirmed through its affidavit, the written statement or reply submitted before the court.
Therefore, it has also been suggested by the SOP that the compliance in matters in the executive domain must not be insisted upon by courts and contempt would not lie against such orders.
The Centre suggested that it being the settled law that for a contempt action to lie, it is necessary for the parent order to be an enforceable order. Thus, the said compliance should not be insisted upon by court directing a particular outcome, which is especially on the matters in the executive domain.
It has also been suggested by the SOP that before initiating the proceedings, the petition moved for review on behalf of government must be considered by higher courts, if it is pointed out that certain points of law were not considered during adjudication.
It has also been proposed in the SOP that in cases where the review petition has been admitted against a contempt order of a lower court, the lower court should take cognizance of the same and should not initiate any related contempt proceedings in the said matter.
If the said court initiated the contempt proceedings which have already been initiated, the same must be kept in abeyance at the lower court until the decision is made on the review petition, the SOP suggests.
The SOP proposed by the Centre is to apply to the Supreme Court, the High Court and all the court proceedings which dealt with government related matters.
As per the draft of the SOP, it aims to create a more congenial and conducive environment between Judiciary and Government with a view to improve overall quality of compliance of Judicial orders by the Government, thereby minimising the scope for the contempt of court.