“Stream of Justice has to be kept clear and pure”, Delhi HC reiterates law relating to contempt of courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Manmohan, J., held Defendant 2 guilty for contempt of court in a suit filed by Louis Vuitton for infringement of trademark, copyright, etc.

On plaintiff’s complaint, Defendant 2 made a statement under oath that he never sold any branded products. However, when inquiry was conducted on the premises of Defendant 2, the stock of more than 500 items of different luxury brands was found. Consequently, the plaintiff filed the present contempt petition.

The High Court observed that it would be a great public disaster if fountain of Justice is allowed to be poisoned by anyone giving false statements or fabricating false documents in a court of law. The Court referred to various judgments of the Supreme Court and High Courts,  for reiterated the law regarding contempt of courts, as follows:

  • In a case of perjury, the Court can invoke its contempt jurisdiction.
  • In a case where the contempt is in the face of the Court, the procedure under Section 14 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 is attracted.
  • In all other cases of criminal contempt, Section 15 is applicable.
  • Contempt proceeding is sui generis, it has peculiar features which are not found in criminal proceedings.
  • The Court is free to evolve its own procedure consistent with principles of natural justice and fair play.

While observing that a false statement made under oath strikes a blow at Rule of Law, the Court held Defendant 2 guilty for contempt of court and sentenced him for 1 month’s simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2000. [Louis Vuitton Malletier v. Omi,2018 SCC OnLine Del 10343, dated 07-08-2018]

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