Intra-court appeal is not maintainable against an order: Allahabad High Court

The Allahabad High Court while dismissing the contempt appeal held that intra-court appeal is not maintainable against an order issuing notices to parties passed by a Single Judge of contempt jurisdiction.

The Division Bench of Justice Ashwani Kumar Mishra and Justice Mohd Azhar Husain Idrisi passed this order while hearing a contempt appeal filed by International Service Fellowship Usa.

The contempt appeal arises out of an order passed by the Single Judge dated 26.4.2023, while issuing notices in the contempt petition.

The Single Judge in addition to the issuance of notice has also clarified that the district administration shall not stop construction of those persons, who are not the party in the First Appeal From Order. It is this part of the order with which the appellant is aggrieved.

Counsel for the appellant submitted that the vendees to the defendant are equally bound by the orders passed by the Court in First Appeal From Order and that various undertakings have also been given by the parties not to raise constructions.

A preliminary objection, however, is taken to the maintainability of the contempt appeal on the ground that against issuance of notice in contempt no appeal would be maintainable.

It is also submitted that in the event appellant is aggrieved by the directions issued while issuing notices the remedy available to the appellant would be to file a special appeal.

The Court observed that,

The issue which has arisen before the Court is similar to the issue raised in the case of Midnapore (supra), wherein an order came to be passed by the High Court in contempt proceedings.

Clause v of the judgment makes it abundantly clear that where the High Court in exercise of contempt proceedings decides an issue or makes a direction relating to the merits of the dispute the aggrieved person is not without remedy. Such an order is open to challenge in intra-court appeal if the order under challenge is passed by the Single Judge and in the absence of intra-court appeal by seeking special leave to appeal, under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.

“In view of the law settled on the issue we find substance in the objection raised on behalf of the respondents that the contempt appeal would not be maintainable, particularly as the contempt court has only issued notices in the matter so far against which admittedly an appeal would not lie. For the directions which are issued while issuing notices the remedy would lie elsewhere in terms of the observations made by the Supreme Court in Midnapore (supra)”, the Court further observed while dismissing the contempt appeal.

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