The Delhi High Court has held a person guilty of contempt for obtaining a forged document to cut a tree.

A man had approached the court by filing a plea for a direction to take a decision on the complaint given by him regarding felling of trees at a colony in New Delhi.

A Single Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad said, “The purpose of contempt jurisdiction is to uphold the majesty and dignity of the courts of law, since the respect and authority commanded by the courts of law are the greatest guarantee to an ordinary citizen and the democratic fabric of society will suffer if respect for the judiciary is undermined. For the acts done by the Respondent No.2/Contemnor, he deserves no mercy from this Court. A strong message has to be sent to the society that the orders of the Court cannot be flouted.”

Advocate Aditya N. Prasad represented the petitioner while ASC Anupam Srivastava represented the respondent.

Factual Background -

A writ petition was listed July 7, 2021 and the High Court had directed the Tree Officer and the Deputy Conservator of Forest to ensure that the trees at the two locations were not fell or harmed in any manner. However, it was held that as far as the tree at Defence Colony is concerned, the Order would not be applicable if the tree had already been felled. However, as far as the tree at Lajpat Nagar is concerned, the Order was to apply to the said tree. Stating that the Order passed by the Court was violated, the petitioner filed a contempt case.

It was stated that on coming to know that the tree at Lajpat Nagar was being cut, the petitioner gave a police complaint and the local police apprehended the persons and seized their equipments. Notice was issued in the contempt petition and the forest authorities stated that as far as the tree at Lajpat Nagar is concerned, permission was sought to fell the said tree from the Tree officer based on the forged and fabricated documents. The Oral prayer of the petitioner to implead the contemnor in the contempt petition as respondent was accepted and notice was issued to him.

The High Court in the above context of the case noted, “A perusal of the counter affidavit filed by the Deputy Conservator of Forest and the Status Report filed by the Delhi Police shows that the Respondent No.2 herein has presented a forged permission letter for felling down the tree and on the basis of the said forged permission, the tree at Lajpat Nagar has been cut.”

The Court observed that the facts clearly establish that despite the order, permission was obtained by the contemner to cut the tree and the said permission is claimed to be a forged document by the forest department.

“In view of the above, this Court holds that Respondent No.2 is guilty of wilful disobedience of the Orders of this Court”, it concluded.

Accordingly, the Court held the contemner guilty and listed the case on April 30 for hearing on the punishment to be imposed on him for the offences under Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

Cause Title- Bhavreen Kandhari v. Mandeep Mittal (Neutral Citation: 2024:DHC:2942)


Petitioner: Advocate Aditya N. Prasad

Respondent: ASC Anupam Srivastava, Advocate Dhairya Gupta, Vasuh Misra, DCG Vipul Pandey, Advocates Parveen Rawal, Shashank Sachdeva, ASC Mehak Nakra, Advocates Aditi Kapoor, and Abhishek Khari.

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