HC judges should have discipline, cannot overreach our orders: SC

Supreme Court on Babri Masjid Ram Mandir Dispute

“We want the high court judges to have some discipline. They cannot overreach our orders. We cannot accept this conduct,” commented a bench of justices Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and MR Shah when it came across an order of the Punjab & Haryana high court, passed in contradiction to a Supreme Court order.

“Dare they try to do it again,” an exasperated Supreme Court remarked on Friday while taking strong exception to a high court order which tried to bypass the mandate of the top court.

“We want the high court judges to have some discipline. They cannot overreach our orders. We cannot accept this conduct,” commented a bench of justices Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and MR Shah when it came across an order of the Punjab & Haryana high court, passed in contradiction to a Supreme Court order.

Justice Chandrachud went on to add that he was going to raise the issue with Chief Justice of India NV Ramana. “How can a high court do this? I will bring this to the attention of the honourable CJI,” said the judge.

The court’s anguish arose out of an order by the high court that quashed a show-cause notice issued to a private firm by the excise and tax department of Chandigarh. The bench noted that an earlier order of the high court quashing the previous notices was already stayed by the Supreme Court in December 2020. An application filed by the firm, M/s Shiva Traders, the bench observed, was also pending before it for restraining the department to go ahead with the tax assessment proceedings.

However, the firm moved the high court in February against a show-cause notice, and the high court nixed it.

“How could the high court entertain the writ petition when it was aware that the case is pending before us? The company had also filed an application before us and it is still pending. But the high court went ahead and passed the order which was being asked for before us,” rued the bench.

Advocate Nikhil Goel, appearing for Chandigarh Administration, informed the court that the case involved an inquiry into 884 fabricated entries of assessment and there were fake entries to show that a tax demand of 5 crore had been settled for 5,000.

On his part, senior advocate Puneet Bali submitted on behalf of the firm that a mere stay of the high court order will not revive the show-cause notice automatically.

“But you already had filed your application before us trying to restrain the department from proceedings against you. So, why did you go to the high court? And how could the high court entertain you after knowing about all this? It is now between this court and the high court. You are just a party there. And we will not tolerate this,” retorted the bench.

It then set aside the high court order, recording in its order that “the high court has overreached the jurisdiction” of the Supreme Court.

“The high court should have straightaway dismissed the writ petition (of the firm). Not only the ad interim order is unsustainable but the very act of the high court in entertaining the writ petition shows a lack of respect for pendency of proceedings before this court which this court exercises in its appellate jurisdiction,” stated the court in its order.

It directed that a copy of its order be transferred to the registrar general of the high court.

Source: Hindustan Times

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