Contempt petition filed in Bombay High Court against Chairperson of State Women’s Commission Smt. Rupali Chakankar and Ors. [Indian Bar Association Vs Smt. Rupali Chakankar & Ors. PIL (C)(St.) 11079 of 2022]
- Petitioner sought 4 different contempt actions against contemnors.
- Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar and 11 Ministers are made accused.
- Petitioner claims that the appointment of political person on a quasi-judicial authority of Women’s commission is against the binding directions of Supreme Court.
- The order passed by the Chairman of Commission directing police to arrest MLA Ganesh Naik was beyond her jurisdiction and it was made in contempt of Supreme Court judgment in M.C. Abraham Vs State of Maharashtra (2003) 2 SCC 649.
- The order passed against Union Minister Narayan Rane & MLA Nitesh Rane in a case related with their interview claiming the involvement of minister Aditya Thackray in murder of Disha Saliyan and Sushant Singh Rajput was against the Supreme Court judgment in Rhea Chakraborty Vs. State of Bihar 2020 SCC OnLine SC 654.
- As per law laid down by the Supreme Court Smt. Rupali Chakankar was disqualified to hear and pass any order in any case related with persons either in her party or persons against her party i.e. BJP.
- But she passed orders beyond her jurisdiction and misused the public machinery for serving her personal and ulterior purposes. Which is an offence under section 166, 109, 409, 218, 219, 220, 120(B), 34 and 52 of IPC.
- Smt. Rupali Chakankar, despite being on the post of quasi-judicial authority continued to work as Rashtrwadi’s Political Party leader and attended many rallies, dharna and addressed programs of Rashtrawadi Congress Party. She attended dharna against Nawab Malik’s arrest.
- Therefore, she is guilty of grosses misconduct as a public servant. She is guilty of repeated contempt.
- All the ministers including Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and party leaders, Party Chief Sharad Pawar, Party’s M.P. Supriya Sule who abated her and helped her in committing such crimes are also held to be responsible for the same punishment as of the main accused.
- Petitioner sought maximum punishment of six months imprisonment under section 2(b), 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 to contemnors.
- Petitioner also sought direction to CBI to register F.I.R. and action against the accused ministers.
- Petition is filed by Adv. Sohan Agate who is Maharashtra State working President of Indian Bar Association.
The prayers in the Contempt Petition reads thus;
(a) To hold that the appointment of Respondent No. 1 Smt. Rupali Chakankar on the post of Chairperson of Maharashtra State Commission for Women is illegal and null and void and in contempt of law laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court and this Hon’ble Court in the case of Suresh Ramchandra Palande and Ors. Vs. The Government of Maharashtra 2015 SCC OnLine Bom 6775 and therefore all the contemnors including Respondent No. 2 Shri. Uddhav Thackeray, Chief Minister of Maharashtra are liable for action and punishment under section 2(b), 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971;
(b) To hold that in view of law laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of M.C.Abraham Vs. State of Maharashtra (2003) 2 SCC 694 the Respondent No. 1 Smt. Rupali Chakankar’s or other officers of any Tribunal or judicial or quasi-judicial authority are not having any jurisdictional power to direct arrest of any accused at the starting point of the investigation;
(c) To hold that the Respondent No. 1 Smt. Rupali Chakankar is guilty of deliberate contempt of law laid down by this Hon’ble Court in the case of Jesamal Motawani Vs. State of Maharashtra, 2008 SCC OnLine Bom 867, for passing order beyond her jurisdiction and therefore she is liable to be prosecuted for separate charges under Section 2(b), 12 of Contempt of Courts Act, 1971;
(d) Issue show cause notice of contempt to all contemnors in ‘FORM-I’ by formulating appropriate charges against contemnors as ruled in The Editor for Blitz Publications 1979 ILR Bombay 25, Suo Motu v. Nandlal Thakkar, Advocate 2013 CRI. L. J. 3391;
(e) To hold that the subsequent conduct of Respondent No. 1 disqualifies her to continue on the post of chairperson of a Maharashtra State Commission for Women even for a moment;
(f) To formulate the guidelines for appointment of impartial and qualified persons and code of conduct for the person holding statutory and quasi-judicial posts;
(g) To hold that the Respondent No. 1 Smt. Rupali Chakankar misused her position, office, public property and machinery for unauthorized purposes and other respondents who are made co-accused in the memo of petition by their act of commission and omission conspired, abated and committed the offences which are offences punishable under section 166, 409, 52, 109, 120(B), 34 etc. of IPC and therefore C.B.I. needs to be directed to register a case by treating this petition as an F.I.R. in view of law laid down in Noida Entrepreneurs Association Vs. Noida and Ors. (2011) 6 SCC 508, Dr. Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil Vs. State of Maharashtra 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 516;
(h) Try and punish the contemnors under Section 2(b), 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 r/w Article 215 of the Constitution of India;
(i) To forward a reference to Hon’ble Supreme Court for action under contempt as per ratio laid down in Vinay Chandra Mishra’s case AIR 1995 SC 2348, for deliberate contempt and wilful disregard of the two Supreme Court judgment in the case of M.C.Abraham Vs. State of Maharashtra (2003) 2 SCC 694 & Mineral Development Ltd. Vs. State of Bihar, (1860) 2 SCR 609;
(j) To give direction to the Secretary of the office of Hon’ble Governor to place before Hon’ble Governor (Respondent No. 22) the proofs of various unconstitutional, unlawful and criminal activities of the accused and their act of commission and omission leading to ‘breach of oath taken as Minister of the State’ thereby disqualifying them to continue on the post even for a moment, with a direction cum request to Hon’ble Governor to take immediate steps for forwarding the report to Hon’ble President of India through the Central Home Ministry (Respondent No 21) for taking constitutional measures to ensure that the people like contemnors shall not be allowed to continue to hold the constitutional posts when they are not having any respect for our constitution and rule of law and who are involved in promoting the lawlessness;
(j) to give directions to the State Government (Respondent No 24) and Central Government (Respondent No 21) to provide appropriate protection to the petitioner, his advocates and witnesses and to take immediate action in case of any threats, pressure tactics or any attempt to hurt/injure the petitioner, his advocates and witnesses. And in case of loss of life of the petitioner, to treat this petition as a dying declaration of the petitioner for prosecution against the contemnors;
(k) Pass any other order in favor of the petitioners which is just and necessary in the facts and circumstances of the case.