The Delhi High Court recently initiated a suo motu contempt case against a woman living in Australia for making “derogatory remarks” against the court while being logged in through virtual conferencing.
Terming her conduct “patently contemptuous”, a single-judge bench of Justice Neena Bansal Krishna in its January 10 order issued a show cause notice to one Anita Kumari Gupta, who is presently living in Sydney, as to why she should not be punished under the Contempt of Courts Act.
The HC was hearing a 2011 lawsuit wherein Gupta (the plaintiff) sought partition and injunction in respect of the suit property located in Delhi’s Pusa Road, left behind by her mother, as noted by the HC in a previous order.
On January 10, a date was given for hearing the matter with the joint consent of the counsels for the parties.
The HC in its order noted that when the next item was taken, Gupta, who had joined through video conferencing, abused the Court.
The HC, thereafter, said the “derogatory remarks” made by the plaintiff to “denigrate the Court are patently contemptuous and show the complete disregard to the dignity of the Court, despite the fact that the counsels representing respective parties were present and had agreed to the date given i.e., 16.04.2024 for final arguments.”
“Keeping in view such derogatory remarks lowering the dignity of the Court, the Suo Moto Contempt is taken. Accordingly, the Show-Cause Notice is issued to the plaintiff who is stated to be, at present, living in Sydney, Australia, as to why she be not punished under the Contempt of Courts Act. The plaintiff is directed to appear before this Court in person on the next date of hearing i.e., 16.04.2024,” the HC ordered.
It further directed the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO), Delhi to impound the Passport/VISA of the plaintiff in case she comes to India “before the date fixed for hearing” and added that she will not be permitted to leave the country without the direction of the HC.
“The High Commission of India at Canberra, Australia is also directed to communicate this Order to the plaintiff who is stated to be living at present in Sydney, Australia, through Consulate General of India, Sydney, Australia,” the HC further said.