The Supreme Court on Wednesday held Rajiv Dahiya, MD of Rajasthan-based NGO Suraz India Trust, 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.
The bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh said, “His actions to scandalise the court cannot be countenance.” The Court added that it will conduct hearing on the final sentence on October 7
On September 8, 2021, the Bench reserved its order on whether contempt proceedings should be initiated against Dahiya. 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.
“In the end, as per usual practice in prior proceedings, the petitioner stated that he wants to tender an unconditional apology seeking to withdraw all what he has said. We have put to him that he has the liberty to file what he pleases within three days and we will take that into consideration while passing our orders. Judgment reserved,”
-noted the bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M.M. Sundresh.
The Supreme Court had issued contempt notice on July 9, 2021 to the chairperson for not depositing the cost of Rs 25 lakh for repeatedly misusing the jurisdiction of the top court. During the hearing today, Dahiya appeared before the court virtually and requested for some time to seek legal advice, which was denied. Subsequently, there were some prayers submitted by the NGO chairperson to allow for a mercy petition and requested that it’s impossible to make the payment, as he had no access to such resources.
“There is no such mercy petition and you are beyond that, as you have invited problems for yourself. You think if you throw mud on people, people will back off, if you have assets, it (the cost) will be recovered,”
-the court retorted.
The court also denied recalling the orders made for the recovery of amount from personal proceeds. The court said, “If you had apologised, you would not be in this position, but now you have to learn a lesson.”
Dahiya shared an example of a Japanese detention centre, where a man broke out of the jail five times just to draw attention and notice of the authorities. In the same way, he said he wanted to bring to the notice of the courts that no one could make false statements in courts. “I just wanted to draw attention of the courts; nobody has a right to make false statement in courts. I made this NGO for this purpose only to bring false examples out.”
“What you have done you think is right, but we feel is wrong,” the court said and opined that the purpose of forming NGO may be right, but there is a method to redress a grievance.
Justice Kaul, while calling Rajiv Dahiya a “Gyaani” in the subjects of law, said at last, he cannot permit the same to be done.
ASG Aishwarya Bhati respectfully submitted that nine times the matter was heard, but there was complete evasion of information on employment and assets, which is scandalising the court.
The court asked senior counsel Manish Singhvi, “He has to be mentally tested.”
The court also denied the petitioner any kind of review, which was his constitutional right. Dahiya accepted his mistakes and said he was willing to submit an unconditional apology.
The Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta in a miscellaneous application (2020) in case of Suraz India Trust vs UoI, arising out of order passed in Writ Petition of 2016, dated May 6, 2021, asked the state (Union of India) that the petitioner in person qua Chairman of NGO (Suraj India Trust) has still not deposited Rs 25 lakh as cost imposed by the then then three-judge bench, namely CJI Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul for wasting the judicial time of the apex court by filing 64 frivolous petitions, both before various High Courts and the apex court.
The Union of India had apprised the court that disciplinary proceedings had been initiated against the petitioner in person, thereof the bench directed the state to initiate fresh steps in recovering the costs from the petitioner, that could be gathered from the arrears of land revenue.
The Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy, vide order February 12, 2021, noticed the fact that the application for modification filed by petitioner for waiving the cost awarded to the petitioner in person, was outrightly rejected on January 5, 2017. Further, the details of immovable and movable assets were sought by the apex court from the petitioner, but he failed to furnish them. Seeing the indiscretion and conduct of petitioner by laying tricks upon the court, the apex court issued bailable warrant against petitioner Rajiv Dahiya for the sum of Rs 25,000 with one surety of like amount.
The order dated April 12, 2021 indicate that Senior Advocate Manish Singhvi, Counsel for the state, appeared and court asked him to obtain instructions as to nature of employment of petitioner in person and whether all activities being carried out by petitioner are permissible or not while he is drawing salary from the state since the petitioner is in government job.
Genesis of Writ Petition (2016)
The following petition came up before the 3 judges Bench (Supra) in the month of April 2017. The court had a view that such petition does not disclose any cause in interest of public nature, and as such the court granted him liberty to not file such PILs which is not in interest of public cause. Ample opportunity was given to the petitioner to make voluntary statement regarding not filing such petitions, nevertheless , the suggestion put forward by the court was declined by him. Several representations were sent by petitioner to the then President of India making inappropriate remarks against SC judges, Rajasthan High court and other court judges as well. Such letter contained allegation about the registry of Supreme Court also.