Skip to content


Kruthiventi Kutumba Rao Vs. Muthi Venkata Subba Rao and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectContempt of Court
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberContempt Case No. 12 of 1967
Judge
Reported inAIR1969AP47; 1969CriLJ149
ActsContempt of Courts Act, 1952 - Sections 3; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Order 39, Rules 6(2) and 7; Constitution of India - Article 215
AppellantKruthiventi Kutumba Rao
RespondentMuthi Venkata Subba Rao and ors.
Appellant AdvocateN. Rajeshwara Rao and ;K.B.R. Krishnamurthy, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateP. Rama Rao, Adv. and Public Prosecutor
Excerpt:
contempt of court - order of district munsif - section 3 of contempt of courts act, 1952, order 39 rules 6 (2) and 7 of code of civil procedure, 1908 and article 215 of constitution of india - petitioner alleging contempt of court contended that respondent violated district munsif's orders and obstructed commissioner to perform duties mentioned in orders - respondent not only disobeyed orders but contended that orders were issued without jurisdiction - conduct of respondents contumacious - held, respondent guilty of contempt of court. - motor vehicles act (59 of 1988)section 149 (2): [v. gopala gowda & jawad rahim, jj] insurers entitlement to defend the action joint appeal by insured and insurer - held, the language employed in enacting sub-section (2) of section 149 appears to be.....jaganmohan reddy, c.j. 1. this is a petition to commit respondents nos. 1 to 6 for contempt for violating the orders of the district munsif, vijayawada, by obstructing the advocate commissioner sr. p. v. rama sarma while performing the duties directed in the warrant issued to him in i. a. no. 179/67 in o. s. no. 78/67, that it for seizing the account books and papers ( items 1 to 19) mentioned in the petition and to file the same in the court2. the petitioner is founder member of sri velidendla hanumantharaya grandhalayam which was founded in the year 1934 in memory of the late mr. velidendla hanumantha rao. he is also the secretary for a long time and the joint secretary of the executive treasurer of the library. in 1944 the library was registered as no. 2/44 under the societies act, and.....
Judgment:

Jaganmohan Reddy, C.J.

1. This is a petition to commit Respondents Nos. 1 to 6 for contempt for violating the orders of the District Munsif, Vijayawada, by obstructing the Advocate Commissioner Sr. P. V. Rama Sarma while performing the duties directed in the warrant issued to him in I. A. No. 179/67 in O. S. No. 78/67, that it for seizing the account books and papers ( items 1 to 19) mentioned in the petition and to file the same in the court

2. The petitioner is founder member of Sri Velidendla Hanumantharaya Grandhalayam which was founded in the year 1934 in memory of the late Mr. Velidendla Hanumantha Rao. He is also the Secretary for a long time and the joint secretary of the Executive Treasurer of the library. In 1944 the library was registered as No. 2/44 under the Societies Act, and he is one of the persons who had subscribed to the memorandum of Association. In 1964, during the General Body Meeting the strength of the Executive was increased by providing for one president, three-vice presidents one General Secretary, three Assistant Secretaries, one Treasurer and 16 members, in total not exceeding 25. The present Executive committee of the library is elected on 9-2-64. The term of office of the Committee was two years, and one Pothina Gurunatha Banergi was elected as General Secretary. The petitioner filed O. S. No. 78/67 on the file of the District Munsif, Vijayawada for a permanent injunction restraining the Secretary from functioning as secretary of the Executive Committee alleging that the secretary mismanaged the affairs of the library. It is stated in the plaint that he did not keep the accounts properly and failed to convene the General Body Meeting for electing the New Executive for the last one year and that the library funds running into several thousands of rupees were misappropriated and mismanaged. The petitioner filed I. A. no. 179/67 for appointing an advocate as a commissioner to make an inventory of the Account Books, Bank Books, Cheque Books, Minute Books and all other records of the library and file them in the Court. On this I. A. a warrant dated 4-3-67 was issued to seize items 1 to 19 mentioned in the petition and file them in Court with an inventory.

On 5-3-67 a commissioner was appointed who with the help of Respondents Nos. 4 and 5, the Head Constable and Police Constable respectively of Law and order , V Town Police Station , Vijayawada went to the library at 3.15 p. m. along with the commissioner, the petitioner and his advocates, Sri. S. Rama Krishna and Sri. P. L. Narayana, entered the office room of the library. Respondent No. 1 is the librarian, Respondents No. 2 the Treasurer, and Respondents No. 3 the Secretary of the Building Construction Committee of the Library. The Advocate Commissioner in his report has stated that accompanied by the petitioner and his advocate Sri. P. L. Narayana he went to law and Order No. 5 Town Police Station , Vijayawada at about 2-30. p.m. and produce the letter for help. Taking the assistance the Respondents No. 4 and 5 he proceeded to the Library along with them and the plaintiff's counsel Sri. P. L. Narayana and reached there at about 3.15 p. m. They went to the 2nd floor where the office room is situated. In the office room of the Grandhalayam, the 1st respondent was found sitting in a chair before the desk. The Commissioner had shown the warrant to him and asked about the Respondent. Then the 1st Respondent called one Bujeti Jagannadha Rao and pretended to make enquiries about the respondents and ultimately he told the Commissioner that the respondent was not available. Thereupon the Commissioner drafter a notice intimating his intention to proceed with the commission work and asked him to co-operate and take the notice. The 1st respondent took the notice and endorsed the same and thereafter he asked the commissioner to wait for some time so that he may contact the President of the Grandhalayam, V. Jagan Mohan Rao and Treasurer by name P. Kesava Rao the 2nd respondent on hone. After he returned from the telephone, he produced some account books and receipt books relating to the present period which were readily available on the table itself. He said that some account books were in the iron safe but the keys of the iron safe were with the treasurer, the 2nd respondent.

3. The Commissioner prepared an inventory list in respect of the books produce before him. In the meantime the 2nd respondent came there. He raised objections and disputed the powers of the commissioner. The commissioner asked him to open the locks of the Iron Sage as the keys are with him, but the 2nd respondents refused to do so. The commissioner told him that he was going to take steps for breaking open the locks of the Iron Safe in connection with executing the warrant. After this, he sent for a lock repairer. After the lock repairer by name Shaik Rahim Rallah came, the secretary of the building Construction Committee of the Grandhalayam and some of his men also came there. In the presence of the Head Constable Petitioner and his advocates Sri. S. Ramakrishna and Sri. P. L. Narayana who were with the Commissioner as well as the mediators Sri A. Sri Rama Murthy , Sri. C. L. Mrutyunjaya, Sri. M. V. Subba Rao, and Kesava Rao, the Commissioner directed the lock repairer to open the lock of the iron safe. After the lock repairer opened the door of the iron safe, some account books, printed receipts books etc., were found in the iron safe and the Commissioner prepared inventory of the same. On all the documents inventoried and listed by him the Commissioner put his signature and numbered the same. After preparing the inventory list, he gave a copy to the clerk, the 1st respondent and told him that he was going to take the documents with him. But the 2nd and 3rd respondents advised the Commissioner not to take the list and they did not allow him to take the inventoried documents. The police constables refused to give help and assistance and they left the place saying that the circle Inspector of Police Sri. Sirgaraju, Respondent No, 6 asked them to go away.

Thereafter, according to the Commissioner, he sough help from the Police Control Room when a few of them came. Then also Respondents No, 1, 2, and 3 and their men obstructed him from executing the warrant and prevented him from getting the inventories documents which were bundled and placed on the table. As he found much pressure by the persons gathered there who were restraining him to execute the warrant, the Commissioner had telephoned to the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Vijayawada Town seeking proper police assistance but he could not contact him as it was reported that he was not at home. IN the meantime the Circle Inspector, the 6th respondent came there and stationed in from t of the Grandhalayam in a jeep car, and instructed the police that have come from the police Control Room to leave the place. As there was no help from the police and there was great pressure and force from the said persons obstructing and preventing the execution of the warrant, he could not get the documents listed and inventoried by him and the same were left in the Grandhalayam Office Room under the control of the aforesaid people namely Respondents Nos. 1 to 3 and their men. the Commissioner took the signatures of the mediators who were present throughout the proceedings, on the inventory list and on other proceedings after that they left the place at about 6-30. p. m.

4. In front of the Grandhalayam, the 6th respondent who was there in a jeep car, called him . The commissioner explained to him the situation and asked him for sufficient help and assistance without caring for his words, he threatened the Commissioner saying the he would prosecute him fro calling help and assistance from the police control room. As he had no police aid to get the books, and the 6th respondent threatened him to prosecute and refused to give help and protection he had to leave the place. Respondents Nos. 1 to 3 threatened him to leave the inventory list as well as the Commission warrant at the Grandhalayam office, but, however, the Commissioner says he was able to come out only with inventory list.

5. The he went to the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Vijayawada Town and waited at his residence till about 12-30 in the night to report the matter to him. As soon as he came, he gave a report about the situation and sought his help and protection. He asked the Commissioner to ring up at 10.45 a. m. the next morning. Accordingly he went to see him but could not get him as he had just left his house. Again he tried to contact at 12-40 noon but he did not return home by then. Then the Commissioner prepared inventory list as per the warrant and could not get the documents inventoried and file them as he was prevented by force as stated earlier. On 7-3-67 the Court gave a further order directing him to take sufficient police assistance from the Assistance Superintendent of Police, Vijayawada, under a letter of requisition issued by the Court in connection with the execution of the Commission warrant. The commissioner served the notice on the Petitioner's advocate, Sri Rama Krishna, stating that he would proceed to execute the warrant between 3 p. m. and 6 p. m. on 8-3-67. After obtaining the said letter of requisition at about 4 p. m. on 7-3-67 the petitioner attempted many times to contact the A. S. P. but could not get him till 12-30 noon on 8-3-67. At about 12-30 on 8-3-67 he went to the A. S. P's bungalow, met him and gave the envelope containing the letter of requisition to him. Thereupon the A. S. P. directed the sub-Inspector of Police, Law & order No. v. Police Station to give sufficient help by endorsing the direction of the letter given by the Court itself and asked him to show the same to the said Sub-Inspector of Police, Accompanied by the petitioner and his advocate, Sri. P. L. Narayana, the Commissioner went to the law and Order No. V police station and produced the letter for help at about 4.15 p,. m. Thereupon, A. S. I. Law & order,, No. V Town Police Station P. Cs. 1481, 1758 and 572 were debuted to help him in executing the warrant.

6. Accompanied by the police, the petitioner and his advocate, the commissioner went to the Grandhalayam at about 4-35 p. m. and reached the 2nd floor where the office room is situated and where he had on 5-3-67, under forcible circumstances, left the documents inventoried by him. But he found that the doors of the office were closed and locked with a Godrej Lock. The he called the watchman and made inquiries as to with whom the keys of the locks are kept. The watchman told him that the keys of the office rooms were with the clerk, the 1st respondent and that he did not know about his whereabouts. then the advocate for the petitioner, Sri. P. L. Narayana requested the Commissioner by way of a memo to break open the lock and enter the office room and execute the warrant or to put a seal until further directions by the court. But the commission warrant did not provide for breaking open the locks of the rooms of premises or to put a seal the same, and the express authorisation given was only to break open the locks of the shelves, almyrahs etc., the Commission r told him the he could not concede to his request. As the office room was found locked and the persons with whom the keys were available had not been forthcoming, the Commissioner was prevented from executing the warrant and ultimately he left the place at about 5 p. m.

7. On 27-3-67, the commissioner another report which was re-issued to him with direction, on 17-3-67 about 12 noon, and this time it was to break open the lock of the room. He went to the premises on 19-3-67 along with petitioner and his advocate Sri P. L. Narayana and three police constables, he reached the place at about 9-20 a. m. There he found that the doors of the office room were open and 1st respondent, the clerk was present. The commissioner asked him to produce the documents inventoried by him on 5-3-67 and other account books etc. but they were not produced. When he asked the clerk, the 1st respondent to open the iron safe and show him whether there are any inventoried documents in it, he open d it but none of the documents inventoried by him or any other account books were found therein. The 1st respondent told them that on 6-3-97 at about 9 a. m. the petitioner and his sons went to the Grandhalayam and asked him to give the documents inventoried by the Commissioner. Thereupon he gave the said documents to the petitioners on 6-3-97 and they have taken them away. Thus the 1st respondent said that the documents inventoried by the /commissioner were not available in the Grandhalayam. Therefore the Commissioner left the office at about 9-45 a.m.

8. The petitioner alleged that respondents No. 1 to 3 obstructed the Commissioner from seizing account books etc. as per the orders of the court and produce them before the court, with help of the mob that gathered there and with the active assistance of Respondents NO. 4 to 6 who colluded with Respondents No.. 1 to 3 removed the books from the office of the library and secreted them. The 6th respondent, the Town Circle Inspector who has a duty to carry out the order of the court and to uphold the dignity of the court, instead of helping the Commissioner to do his duty aided respondents 1 to 3 who are very influential people by asking Respondents 4 and 5, the Head Constable and Police Constable respectively to lave the office of the library thus putting the Commissioner at the mercy of Respondents 1 to 3 and also threatening the Commissioner that he would be prosecuted. Virtually the Circle Inspector i.e., the 6th Respondent, hand-in-glove with Respondents 1 to 3 caused the disappearance of the books etc., which were inventoried.

9. We will examine the defence of Respondents Nos. 1 to 3 on the one hand the Respondents Nos. 4 to 6 on the other as their combined acts have to be looked into in order to ascertain what was their conduct and whether they amount to contempt of the orders of the court. Respondent No. 1 denying the allegations of the petitioner says that he gave full co-operation to the Commissioner throughout and, therefore, he is not liable to contempt. While not denying the details given in the report of the Commissioner he says that when he telephoned and enquired about the Secretary in the presence of the Commissioner on 5-3-67, he was informed that he went to Hyderabad and, therefore, he immediately informed the same to the Commissioner . the allegation that he pretended to make inquires as mentioned in the interim report of the commissioner is denied by him. He has stated that the Commissioner served notice on him stating that he would take steps to execute the warrant entrusted to him. He received the notice and told the commissioner that he was only the clerk in the office and so he sought his permission to inform the purpose of his coming etc., to the president and Treasurer s the secretary was out of station. Then he informed them on telephone and produced the books relating to the present period as they were then readily available on the table itself. He informed the Commissioner that the remaining account books asked for were in the iron safe and keys of the iron safe were with the Treasurer Sri. P. kesava Rao, the 2nd Respondent. Some time later, the Treasurer, the 2nd respondent came there when the Commissioner asked him to open he locks of the iron safe. The Treasurer informed the Commissioner that the keys of the same were with the secretary and further asked the Commissioner as to how he was empowered to seize the account books. The commissioner showed him the warrant and on a perusal of the same the 2nd respondent stated that there was absolutely no mention of Sri Velidandla Hanumantharaya Grandhalayam but, however, he assured the Commissioner that he would co-operate with him.

It is not denied that the Commissioner got the lock of the iron safe broken open. He took out from it the account books and the printed receipt books in the immediate presence of the Treasurer, the 2nd respondent and the secretary of the Building construction Committee, the 3rd respondent, who happened to come by that time. subsequent to the seizure of the documents, the commissioner prepared an inventory and put his signature on all the documents and numbered the same. He has stated that the allegation that Respondents Nos. 2 and 3 advised him not to take the list and did not allow the commissioner to take inventoried documents is not correct. After preparation of the inventory and affixure of the signatures, Respondent No. 2 made a request to the commissioner that the documents might be kept in iron safe under the seal of the Commissioner and also the protection of police. if necessary, till the arrival of the President and Secretary when the commissioner might take the same as required. But the allegation that they obstructed the warrant, according to him, is not correct. Even after the police from the Control Room came at the instance of the plaintiff's counsel, a request was made by the 2nd respondent once again to keep the books etc. in the Grandhalayam premises till the President and Secretary came. He has stated that the Respondents never obstructed the Commissioner from executing the warrant but on the other hand they gave him their utmost co-operation. Again he has stated that what they requested him was to see that the documents were retained in the office till the President or Secretary came out, nothing more. They never indulged in threats or obstruction, and on the other hand, they appealed to the Commissioner and protection of the police if necessary. It was also contended by the 1st respondent that the appointment of the Commissioner for the seizure of the account books was null and void and therefore, the alleged obstruction, even if it is assumed to be true to any extent, does not tantamount to contempt of Court Further the Court issuing the Commissioner did not order notice to the defendant in the suit in the course of passing the order of appointment of the Commissioner and since such order violates the mandatory provisions of Order 26, Rule 18 Civil Procedure Code, it is submitted that it is null and void and obstruction to the commissioner wound not amount to contempt and that the report of the Commissioner made under such circumstances cannot be considered as piece of evidence or acted upon as desired by the petitioner.

10. Respondents Nos. 2 and 3 also support these documents and took similar objections. It will be seen from these three affidavits that while respondents 1 to 3 deny that they cause any obstruction, none-the -less they cannot hide the fact which is asserted by the Commissioner in his report as also by the petitioner his affidavit that the books and documents along with the inventories were asked to be left in the office premises and were not allowed to be taken. It appears to us that the alleged requests of the respondents that the documents etc. be left there till the arrival of the president etc. are misnomers, and they amount to falsely state that the Commissioner and much less the petitioner to falsely state that the Commissioner was prevented from taking the books. If they were only requests, the Commissioner would have expressed his regret and inability to comply with their requests, and he would have complied with the directions of the Court which appointed him as the Commissioner. The very object of asking for police assistance and taking them there was to see that no one caused a breach of the peace when the commissioner executes the orders of the Court. But unfortunately in this case, in spite of the fact that the Commissioner applied to the police for help, and it was granted by the court that help was not forthcoming.

11. No doubt, Respondents Nos. 4 and 5 give a different version. According to them, they were asked to take custody of the books but as they had no authority to take the books in to their custody, the 4th respondent sent the 5th respondent to the police station to take instructions from the A. S. I. He went and returned saying that the Circle Inspector who was present had stated that they had no authority to take custody of the books. Then the 4th respondent himself sent to the police station and Circle Inspector told him the same thing. The Circle Inspector, Respondent No. 6 did not ask them to come away from the Grandhalayam but instructed them to stay there till the Commissioner finished his work and to see nothing untoward happened.

12. The 6th respondent denied that he was in collusion with the other respondents and stated that the 5th respondent came and said that the Advocate commissioner prepared an inventory of the books and he was insisting that the police should take custody of the books and wanted to know if he could do so. On looking into the letter of requisition, he told him that the police were not authorised to do so and if they did, they would be exceeding their powers. Then the 5th respondent went away. The 4th respondent also came and inquired about the same he has instructed in the same way. After completing his work, the 6th respondent went to the spot where he found the van of the police Control Room. Thereupon he stopped and asked the Control Room Party why they were here. The Head Constable who was in -charge of the party replied that they had come in response to a telephone call that a gallata was going on at the Grandhalayam and that when they came, they found that there was no gallata and that it was a false call. A gentleman who came from Grandhalayam stated that he made that telephone all. Thereupon the 6th respondent advised him that it was not proper to make false calls to the Control Room and that persons giving false complaints are liable to be prosecuted. That gentleman did not say anything. Thereafter the 6th respondent immediately left the place in jeep for the office. He says it is not correct to say that he threatened the gentleman with prosecution. He also says he did not speak to him harshly and what he told him was merely in the nature of an advice.

13. The affidavits of other persons also were adduced in support of the contention that what the Commissioner asked for was not police assassinate to take the books but to keep the books in the police custody. They further stated that the Head Constable and Police Constable after their return submitted a report to him stating that the Commissioner told them that if they were not prepared to take charge of the books he did not require a bandobust and they may go away. The Head Constable also made an entry in the General Diary to that effect. The affidavit of Mustafa shows that he was in-charge of the Police Station on 5-3-67 and that at about 6-30 p.m. a telephone message was received from Hanumantharaya Grandhalayam that a gallata was going on there. Immediately, he went there with the Police Control Room party and did not find any gallata there. He questioned the persons present there, where and what the gallata was and some of them replied that there was no gallata. Then he went down-stairs. Even the General Diary shows that the Advocate Commissioner had telephoned at 6-30 p. m. saying that a gallata was going on at the said library. In response to this, a party left at 6-45 p. m. but found no gallata at the spot and therefore they returned to the Control Room. In the affidavits of A. Y. S. S. P Sarma and B. V, Rama Rao also it is stated that there was no gallata. The former says that when he went there he found that the almirah had been broken open and some books were bundled up, and one of the lawyers asked the police personnel present there to take charge of the books. The Head Constable told him that he cannot take charge of the books but that he would give the necessary assistance to the lawyer and stay there till the work was completed.

Even the statement taken from the petitioner by S. V. Narashimhulu, deputy Superintendent of Police, Vijayawada shows that the Commissioner and the 6th respondent were having hot discussion. Even from this statement, from what the 6th respondent stated namely that the commissioner kept quiet when he was told that he was liable to be prosecuted. It would appear that the 6th respondent trying to hide what actually took place between them. We have no hesitation in holding that the statements made by Respondents No. 4 to 6 and others which are adduced in support of them to buttress the version given, and to justify their inaction are all sterotyped. It appears incredible as to why when the commissioner accompanied by the petitioner and lawyers had gone there with the purpose of executing the warrant and bringing the books, they would leave the books and come away nor is it clear why they would ask the police to take custody of the books unless they were apprehending danger of the books being forcibly removed from the premises by Respondents 1 to 3 and their supporters. The whole truth has not been stated by the respondents and it is regrettable that the police who were sent there to help the officer of the Court, have not rendered the necessary assistance, resulting in the disappearance of the accounts books etc. We do not say that they have obstructed him but they were positively unhelpful. The affidavit of the petitioner is corroborated by the report of the Commissioner and it shows that Respondents 1 to 3 obstructed the Commissioner while executing the warrant under the direct orders of the court. Not only that, even the books were spirited away and the allegation that the petitioner and his people took them away is an utter falsehood. Notwithstanding the fact that the 2nd respondent is said to have had the keys though when the came on the scene he said they were with some one else, the commissioner had to get the safe and locker broken open and recover the books.

14. The contention raised by Respondents 1 to 3 that the Court which issued the warrant had no jurisdiction to do so and that the same is null and void: as such, there is no contempt of the order of the Court has also no validity. Order 39 Rule 7 C. P. C. empowers the Court on the application of any party to a suit, and on such terms as it thinks fit, to make an order for detention, preservation or inspection or any property which is subject-matter of such suit, or as to which any question may arise therein or for all or any of the purposes aforesaid authorize any samples to be taken, or any observations to be made or experiment to be tries, which may seem necessary or expedient for the purposes of obtaining full information or evidence. Sub-rule (2) of Rule 6 also says that the provisions as to execution or process shall apply mutatis mutandis to persons authorised to enter under this rule. These provisions are wide enough to authorize any of the parties to a suit to apply for and obtain orders to seize the account books and to have them into court or the defendant cares to rely on them.

15. In this case, the plaintiff made an application in the suit for a permanent injunction restraining the defendant from functioning as secretary of the Executive Committee alleging that that secretary mismanaged. IN order to establish this, account books were necessary and on the application of the plaintiff's petition (sic) the Court had jurisdiction to issue the impugned order. Sri Rama Rao appearing for Respondents No. 1 to 3 cites Padam Sen v. State of U. P. 0065/1960 : 1961CriLJ322 in support of his contention that there was no power in the court to issue an order of the nature of which contempt is said to have been committed. In that case, Their Lordships of the Supreme Court were considering the case of a person who is alleged to have obstructed the Commissioner in the execution of his duties. In a suit filed for recovery of money on the basis of promissory notes executed by defendants in his favour, the defendant applied to have the plaintiffs account books brought in to Court on the apprehension that the plaintiff would tamper with the books and might fabricate them. The Additional Munsif issued a warrant to seize the said books of account, and bring them into court. The commissioner accordingly seized the books and brought them toe Gaziabad. The appellants were convicted by the Special Judge under Section 165 I. P. C. for having offered bribe to the Commissioner for being allowed an opportunity to tamper with those books on account, and their conviction was upheld by the High Court. But their Lordships of the Supreme Court observed that the defendants had no right to these account books. They could not lay any claim to them. They applied for the seizure of these books because they apprehended that the plaintiff might make such entries in those books which could go against the case they were setting up in Court. they rejected the contention that such an order could be passed by a Court under several provisions namely section 75 or Section 151 or Order 26 /Rules 38 and 39. Raghubar Dayal J., observed at p. 220 as follows:

'Rule 7 of Order XXXIX empowers the Court on the application of any party to a suit, to make an order for the detention, preservation or inspection of any property which is the subject-matter or such suit or as to which any question may arise therein. The account books of the plaintiffs were not 'property' which were that subject matter of the suit not such that about them a question could arise in the suit. The account books could at best have been a piece of evidence, if the plaintiff or the defendant had cared to rely on them, we therefore hold that the Additional Munsif had no power under Code to appoint the Commissioner for seizing the plaintiff's books of account'.

16. IN this case, certainly as observation by their Lordships of the Supreme Court the account books were required as a piece of evidence by the plaintiff who cares to rely on them for establishing allegations made by him in order to obtain an order or permanent injunction: as such order 39 Rule 7 confers ample powers on this Court to seize them. A large number of cases have been cited for the proposition that where an order of the Court is without jurisdiction no contempt can be said to have been committed. But inasmuch as we have found that the line of cases. So long as there is an order by the Court which requires compliance no only, parties but even third parties who are not parties to the suit and who have notice for disobedience of such orders or for obstructing the execution of the same. Whether the order is valid or irregular unless it is vacated, it has got to be obeyed. Oswald in his book 'Contempt of Court' (3rd edition) at pare 107 says:

'An order irregularly obtained cannot be treated as a nullity but must be implicitly obeyed, until by a proper application it is discharged, and the case is the same where the order is alleged to have been improvidently made.'

In Narain Singh v. S. Haridayal Singh , it has been held that so long as the injunction order has not granting it, or has not been reversed on appeal , no matter how unreasonable and unjust the injunction may be, the order must be obeyed. Violation of the order of injunction cannot be executed on the ground that though the court acted within its jurisdiction . the order that it passed was erroneous. The Court in contempt proceedings will not inquire into the merits of the case in which the injunctions issued.

17. In subodh Gopal v. Dalmia Jain & co. Ltd., : AIR1951Pat266 it has been held that right or wrong the injunction order binds him, and he disregards it at his peril.

18. It appears to us from what we have stated above that respondents 1 to 3 have committed gross contempt not only in not obeying the orders of the /court but in obstructing the execution thereof by the Commissioner appointed by it. Their further action in spiriting away the books nullifies and reduces the process of the Court to mere nothing. This aggravates the contempt. While we cannot say with the same certainty that respondents 4 to 6 in any way obstructed or committed contempt of the orders of the Court, nonetheless, being the minions of law and order, their services were requisitioned and their assistance was sought in furtherance of the execution of the orders of the court, but they stood by, without rendering much help and later they invented a theory that the Commissioner had asked them to take the books into their custody, which under the requisition they were not asked to do. We cannot accept the statement that there was no galata at all and that no threat or obstruction was cause in the execution of the commission. It is certain that the /commissioner was not permitted to take the books. Respondents 4 and 5 did nothing and respondent 6 who came on the scene rendered no assistance. It is unthinkable that the commissioner would not have reported that matter to the 6th respondent nor would he have falsely blamed his conduct. However, in the case of respondents 4, 5 and 6 we drop the proceedings against them with the observation that we cannot look askance at their unhelpful and negatice attitude in not assisting the execution of the orders of the Court by the Commissioner. Where the police are required to render assistance in executing the orders of Court, they must diligently an actively assist - nay it is one of their duties which they can neglect to perform only at the risk and peril of exposing themselves to censure and punishment. In so far as respondents 1 to 3 are concerned, their acts are contumacious and they have caused obstructions to the execution of the orders of the Court.

19. We accordingly convict Respondents Nos. 1 to 3 for contempt of Court. The conduct of these respondents is derogatory to the dignity and authority of law in stultifies the process through which /courts of law in this country must administer justice. The impunity with which respondents 1 to 3 not only disobeyed but subsequently tried to justify it as if the orders were issued without jurisdiction, adds to the aggravation of the offence. They have not also tendered any apology. We accordingly sentence each of respondents 1 to 3 to two months simple imprisonment with directions that they may be detained in District Prison, Secunderabad.

20. Order accordingly.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //