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Report No. 274

B. Execution of Order Not Possible

6.7 Where an alleged contemnor is able to place before the Court sufficient material to establish that it is impossible to obey an order, the Court will not be justified in punishing such alleged contemnor (vide Capt. Dushyant Somal v. Smt. Sushma Somal & Anr., AIR 1981 SC 1026). A person is not to be punished for contempt of Court for disobeying an order of Court except when the disobedience is established beyond reasonable doubt, "the standard of proof being similar, even if not the same, as in a criminal proceeding".80

6.8 Similarly, in Mohd. Iqbal Khanday v. Abdul Majid Rather, AIR 1994 SC 2252, the Court held that where the appellant has genuine difficulties with regard to implementation of the order, the insistence of the courts on implementation may not meet with realities of the situation and the practicability of implementation of the court's direction. Enforcing obedience to such orders through contempt proceedings hardly lends credence to judicial process and authority.

While the court must always be zealous in preserving its authority and dignity, but at the same time it will be inadvisable to require compliance of an order impossible of compliance.

Review of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 Back

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