If no time limit is fixed for compliance, action for contempt of court is not tenable

Karnataka High Court: While relying upon the decision of the Full Bench of Supreme Court in Union of India v. Oswal Woollen Mills Ltd., (1984) 2 SCC 646, the Division Bench of H.G. Ramesh, K.N. Phaneendra, JJ. held that if no time limit is fixed for compliance of an order, an action for contempt of court is not maintainable. The complainant had filed a petition to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the accused for disobeying Karnataka High Court’s order in N Rajanna v. State of Karnataka, Writ Petition No. 22179 of 2014, wherein, the respondent was directed to consider the request of the petitioner for regularization of his services. However, no time was fixed for compliance of the order.

The Court referred to the Supreme Court’s observations in Oswal Woollen Mills Ltd. wherein it was held that where time is not fixed for taking action, failure to take action in the matter is not contempt, and thereby held that the petition is not maintainable in law and accordingly dismissed it. [N. Rajanna v. Rajaneesh Goel, 2016 SCC OnLine Kar 6469, decided on October 25, 2016]

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