Observing that the court's power of contempt can't be taken away even by a legislative enactment, the Supreme Court on Wednesday held the chairperson of an NGO guilty of contempt for not depositing Rs 25 lakh for "scandalising and browbeating" the court.
"We are of the view that the contemnor is clearly guilty of contempt of court and his action to scandalise the court cannot be countenanced," the top court said.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M M Sundresh said the chairperson of NGO, Suraz India Trust, Rajiv Daiya has been "throwing mud" at all and sundry including the court, administrative staff and the state government.
"The power to punish for contempt is a constitutional power vested with this court which cannot be taken away even by a legislative enactment," the court said.
The top court issued notice to Daiya and directed him to be present on October 7 for hearing of the sentence.
With regard to recovery of money, the bench said it can take place as arrears of land revenue.
The top court had issued contempt notice to Daiya as to why he should not be proceeded against and sentenced for his endeavour to scandalise the court.
Daiya had told the bench that he did not have the resources to pay the costs imposed by the apex court and would approach the President of India with a mercy plea.
The apex court was hearing an application filed by Daiya seeking recall of the apex court's 2017 judgement by which it had imposed costs of Rs 25 lakh on it for filing 64 PILs over the years without any success and "repeatedly misusing" the jurisdiction of the top court.