Closing a contempt petition against an official in the IAS cadre for ignoring an interim stay granted in a transfer and subsequently extended until further orders, Justice V Parthiban said, “Of late, officials have developed tendencies demonstrating more often their disinclination in accepting the decisions of the courts.”
Observing that the apology affidavit filed by the official contained only cliched, trite and common place expression of ‘apology’ accompanied by usual mundane, deferential verbalisms not intended to convey true sense of regret for his crafty transgression, the judge said: “The apologies of this nature are usually not more than skin deep and have been always used as a well-protected shield from being taken to task in contempt proceedings.”
Noting that Courts have also been very fairly gracious in accepting such empty apologies overlooking contemptuous actions of the officials, the court said, “The smooth flow of administration of justice may on occasions confront challenges by the erring conduct of egotistical officials, but the justice delivery system ought to ignore such attempts of derailment of its supremacy in terms of the constitutional scheme.
“It is easier to handout punishment for contempt, but it is always gracious as an institution to observe solemn sobriety and majestically overlook periodical derisive aberrations and march ahead unhindered allowing the defiant traits to fall by the wayside,” Justice Parthiban added while accepting the official’s apology.
“The expression of ‘apology’ by official in contempt action, in the opinion of this court, is not out of self-belief but because of compulsion, yet such insincere, shallow apology is fair enough to be a reason for closure of the contempt petition,” the judge added while cautioning against acting disrespectfully to the court’s order/direction in future. Forgiveness may be the attribute of the strong, but it is certainly not to be construed as an institutional weakness, he reminded the official.
He also pointed out the contempt power conferred on constitutional courts was a cloistered virtue, and the power never intended to be used at every slight or at every instance of disobedience. However, the courts may come across in order to protect its solemn dignity, the court said.