Thursday, June 1, 2023

Supreme Court defers hearing on sentencing Rajiv Dahiya for contempt of court

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The Supreme Court on Thursday deferred its hearing on pronouncement of sentence against Rajiv Dahiya, MD of Rajasthan-based NGO Suraz India Trust, who was held guilty of contempt of Court for not complying with its earlier order of depositing exemplary cost of Rs 25 lakh for casting “imaginary and scandalous accusations” on the judiciary.

Dahiya submitted before the court today that he has tendered an unconditional apology and that he has misinterpreted the order of this court. He has no other ill intention, but to put forward his grievances, added Dahiya. 

The two-judge bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh observed, “There is no compulsion of giving an apology, you get the consequences of it thereon. We repeatedly told you that the way you are raising issues is not acceptable and that is why you invited the first order against you four years back. But you continue to behave the same way. You think that by threatening the other people and the government, you can make the people withdraw. We are unwilling to permit you to misbehave. We thrive to be kind to you, but you are not a person who takes kindness very well.” 

The court further held, “This is the first time that the contemptor has offered an unconditional apology. We defer consideration of this application for the time being and thus defer imposition of sentence till the first non-miscellaneous Tuesday of January.”

The Apex Court also clarified that so far as the disciplinary proceeding against the petitioner initiated by the state is concerned, they are to “proceed in accordance with their own norms and are not sub-judice to this Court.”

The top court of the country, by its order dated September 29, 2021, held Dahiya guilty of contempt of court and had noted, “His actions to scandalise the court cannot be countenance.”

On September 8, the Bench had reserved its order on whether contempt proceedings should be initiated against Dahiya or not. The respondent judgment debtor and the contemnor in the contempt proceedings had appeared before the court in pursuance to the bailable warrants issued by the Apex Court. 

After the hearing, the Apex Court had granted three days time to the chairperson to file an unconditional apology to the court or withdraw all what he has said.

Previously, by its 2017 Judgement, the Supreme Court’s three-judge bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India, J.S. Khehar, had imposed an exemplary cost of Rs.25 lakh on NGO Suraz India Trust. The trust and its Chairman Rajiv Daiya, were further restrained from filing any case (including PILs) before any court. The reason being, frivolous petitions (64) that were filed by the trust before various High Courts and the Supreme Court lacked merit. They were ‘repeatedly misusing’ the jurisdiction and wasting the time of the already over-burdened judiciary.

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