Contempt jurisdiction cannot be invoked on the basis of impressions: SC

Supreme Court: Rejecting the contention of the petitioners who claimed reinstatement in UP Jal Nigam as they were under the “impression” that this what the Court had ordered in it’s order dated 07.09.2015, the bench of AM Khanwilkar and Hemant Gupta, JJ held:

“The contempt jurisdiction cannot be invoked on the basis of impressions, when the order of the Court does not contain any direction for reinstatement or for grant of regular pay scale. The contempt would be made out when there is wilful disobedience to the orders of this Court. Since the Order of this Court is not of reinstatement, the petitioners under the garb of the contempt petition cannot seek reinstatement, when nothing was granted by this Court.”

The Court said that no order was passed to re-engage the workmen who were parties in the Special Leave Petitions and that 61 petitioners in the present case were not party in the group of Special Leave Petitions which were decided on 07.09.2015. The Court made it clear that the said order was only to take workmen on daily wage basis as per office order dated 07.04.2015. Therefore, in the absence of any specific and categorical direction of reinstatement, the petitioners cannot claim any right for reinstatement on the basis of the orders passed by this Court on 07.09.2015.

The Court, hence, said that:

“The Order of the Court cannot be interpreted on the basis of the impressions which may be drawn by the petitioners.”

The Court, hence, dismissed the contempt petitions stating that the Jal Nigam had not violated any of it’s orders. [Badri Vishal Pandey v. Rajesh Mittal, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 8, decided on 04.01.2019]

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