Vs. Union of India & Anr  INSC 340
(5 November 1990)
Rangnath (Cj) Misra, Rangnath (Cj) Kuldip Singh (J)
1991 AIR 311 1990 SCR Supl. (2) 545 1991 SCC (1) 605 JT 1990 (4) 329 1990 SCALE
of Courts Act, 1971: Section 2--M.R.T.P. Com- mission--Filling up posts Of
Chairman and Members--Direction regarding --Default of by Union of
India--Secretary, Minis- try of Industry--Held guilty of contempt.
and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969:
5--Chairman and Members of Commission--Filling up posts of--Direction
regarding--Default of by Union of India--Secretary, Ministry of Industry--Held
guilty of contempt.
144 of the Constitution requires all authori- ties, civil and judicial, in the territory of India to act in aid of the Supreme Court.
5 of the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Prac- tices Act, 1969 provides that
the Commission shall consist of a Chairman and not less than two and not more
than eight other members. The said Commission having been rendered
non-functional with the death of its Chairman in December, 1989 and retirement
of three out of four members by March, 1990 the petitioner sought a direction
to the Union of India to fill up the said posts. By its order dated April 20, 1990 the Court directed that the
Commission be appropriately constituted within three weeks. By a subsequent
order dated May 25,
1990 the Vacation
Judge extended the time to comply with the said direction till 7th July, 1990. The respondent-Union having failed
to comply with the order by the said date the petitioner moved a petition for
order dated 12th October, 1990 the Court held that by not constituting the
Commission on or before 7th July, 1990 its direction had been violated and
directed issue of notice on the contempt petition.
affidavit filed on October 22, 1990, the Secre- tary, Department of Company
Affairs, Ministry of Industries of the Union Government averred that he did his
best to obtain orders of appointment of Chairman and the Members of the
Commission as per directions of the Court, that there has been no wilful
negligence or intention to disobey the orders and that further reasonable time
may be granted for completing the procedure of appointment.
Allowing the contempt petition, the Court,
1. The respondent-Union in the Ministry of Indus- tries represented by the
Secretary was guilty of contempt of the Court.
was the obligation of the Union of India to constitute the Commission in the
manner prescribed under Section 5 of the M.R.T.P. Act, 1969 and when it failed
to do so the Court had given the direction comply with the re- quirements of
Once it was found that before the extended date direction was not being complied
with, it was the obligation of the respondent-contemner to approach the Court
for fur- ther extension of time or to receive such direction as the Court in
its discretion thought it appropriate to make. No such petition was ever Fried
before or after 7th of July, 1990 and even after notice of contempt was served,
such step was not considered necessary and the Union Government re- mained
satisfied by indicating in the affidavit of the contemner that extension should
be given. Since the mandamus had been addressed to the respondent Union, it could not keep away from the Court in such a way
Without complying with the direction. The fact that some attempt was made to
reconstitute the Commission does not constitute an extenuat- ing circumstance.
invoking the power of contempt, the Court seeks only to ensure that the majesty
of the institution may not be lowered and the functional utility of the
constitutional edifice may not be rendered ineffective. It expects the Union of
India to exhibit the most ideal conduct for others to emulate.
view of the offer of unqualified apology and the fact that the Chairman and a
Member have in the meantime been appointed and the Commission in terms of s. 5
of the Act has been reconstituted the Court does not propose to impose any
punishment in the hope and trust that there would be no recurrence of the