Allahabad high court rules that consumer forums can also initiate contempt proceedings
To decide the legal controversy, the HC analyzed the law and its interpretation. The word “court” is not defined under the Act and its meaning would have to be culled out on the basis of various pronouncements by the SC.
In the case of Virendra Kumar Satyawadi v/s State of Punjab, an SC bench considered the characteristics of a court. It held that a court has a duty to decide disputes in a judicial manner and declare the rights of parties in a definitive judgment. Judicial adjudication requires the parties to be heard in support of their claims and to produce evidence. The dispute has to be decided in accordance with law by considering the evidence. An authority or a tribunal would be considered a court only if it fulfils all these attributes.
Going by this definition, even a Returning Officer deciding on the validity of the nomination papers under the Representation of People Act is considered to be a court. Similarly, even an Assistant Registrar under the Cooperative Societies Act is considered to be a court under the Contempt of Courts Act.
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