The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has initiated suo motu criminal contempt proceedings against a litigant for filing forged documents.
A single-judge bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh passed this order while hearing an Application under section 482 filed by Suresh Kumar Tanwar and Another.
On 08.08.2022, the Court considering submissions on behalf of the petitioners and the respondents and with their consent passed following order:-
“2. The petitioners undertake to deposit a sum of Rs 35 lakh in favour of respondent no 2 within a period of one month from today. Amount of Rs 15 lakh to be deposited by the petitioners in favour of respondent no 2 on or before 31-12-2022. For any other amount which remains outstanding, the cases are referred to the Mediation and Conciliation Centre of the court.
- In compliance with the order dated 24-05-2022 passed by this court in petition under Section 482 CrPC, the petitioners shall deposit an amount of Rs 1 lakh through the bank draft, which shall be submitted before the Mediation and Conciliation Centre of the court.
- Accordingly,both the aforesaid cases are referred to the Mediation and Conciliation Centre of the court and the parties are directed to remain present before the Mediation and Conciliation Centre of the Court on 25-08-2022 at 10.15 A.M.
- The Bank Accounts of the petitioners shall be opened so that they may go on with doing their business.
- List these cases after the report of the Mediation and Conciliation Centre is received.
7.Till the next date of listing, interim orders shall continue to operate in both the cases.”
Neither was the amount of Rs 1 lakh as directed by the Court was deposited before the Mediation and Conciliation Centre of the Court nor was the bank draft for Rs 35 lakh favouring respondents was brought before the Court as directed.
On 29.08.2022, the counsel for the petitioners submitted that the petitioners had every intention to comply with the order dated 08.08.2022.
The Court noted,
Instead of complying with the directions issued by the Court in aforesaid two orders, an application came to be filed on behalf of the petitioners. Stand taken in the application is that the ICICI Bank has communicated to the petitioners that though vide order dated 08.08.2022, the Court directed for defreezing the accounts of the petitioners but since the account details were not mentioned in the order dated 08.08.2022, therefore, ICICI Bank would be unable to defreeze the accounts, therefore, the petitioners could not bring Bank Draft of Rs 35,00,000 as directed by this Court vide order dated 29.08.2022.
The petitioners maintained the bank account at Haridwar. However, this communication has been allegedly issued by ICICI Bank, Raheja House, IMT Manesar, Gurugram. It bears a seal of the bank. The seals are undated. The Court considered the said document and the language employed in the said communication and became apprehensive and formed a prima facie view that this document did not appear to be a genuine bank document.
Prashant Kumar, the counsel appearing for ICICI Bank, in compliance of the order dated 21.09.2022 has tendered an affidavit of Manoj Mehta, Regional Head of ICICI Bank, Shalimar Tower, Hazratganj, Lucknow with copy to the counsel for the petitioners.
A report dated 26.09.2022, the affidavit of the Regional Head of ICICI Bank clearly mentions, “No such Letter has been issued by ICICI Bank, Raheja House, IMT Manesar, Gurugram.” In respect of two accounts, it is mentioned that available balance is Rs 1068.3 and Rs 1043 in accounts of the petitioners.
The Court observed,
Considering the fact that the petitioners have willfully disobeyed and defied the order dated 21.09.2022 inasmuch as they have remained absent despite specific direction for their presence before the Court, they have committed contempt of the Court. They have further committed criminal contempt of the Court as they have submitted a forged document before the Court on affidavit and, thus, they have tried to interfere with the course of justice and pollute the stream of justice by bringing on record a forged and fabricated document on affidavit to mislead the Court and obtain a favorable order.
They have further committed criminal contempt of the court by falsely stating on affidavit that the two bank accounts of the petitioners mentioned in the application and referred to above have sufficient amount to honour the directions of this Court to bring a bank draft of Rs 35,00,000 favouring respondents but for not defreezing the accounts by the Bank, they could not bring the Bank draft of Rs 35,00,000 favouring respondents.
In view thereof, the Court has no option but to take a suo motu action against the petitioners.
“Let a separate criminal contempt proceedings be drawn against the petitioners by registering a Suo Motu criminal contempt against them.
In the aforesaid facts and circumstances, let non bailable warrants of arrest be issued against the petitioners.
The Director General of Police, UP and the Director General of Police, Uttarakhand are directed to ensure arrest of the petitioners and their presence before the Court on the next date of listing of the case. Interim orders passed earlier stand vacated,” the order reads.
The Court has fixed the next hearing of the petition on October 12, 02022.