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Mohd. Osman Shaheed Vs. Mohd. Baqur HussaIn Shaa and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1980CriLJ845
AppellantMohd. Osman Shaheed
RespondentMohd. Baqur HussaIn Shaa and ors.
Excerpt:
- - 7 of 1979 is an unsuccessful candidate at the assembly elections held to the andhra pradesh legislative assembly in february, 1978. he lost the electoral contest which was won by one salahuddin owesi who is not a party to the contempt case no. hyderabad (staff reporter). the so-called leaders of janta party and muslim league who were averse on account of the success of janab sultan (salahuddin owesi's thumping majority, from charminar constituency in the last assembly elections, prepared a conspiracy with the help and assistance of the chief editor of a newspaper, nabide deccan (mahjoob-e-alam)-man behind the curtain from the world; however, the hand of the masses are strong. how can we expect a witness to give his evidence freely and frankly, as he ought to do if he is liable as.....p.a. choudary, j.1. the petitioner in this contempt application no. 7 of 1979 is an unsuccessful candidate at the assembly elections held to the andhra pradesh legislative assembly in february, 1978. he lost the electoral contest which was won by one salahuddin owesi who is not a party to the contempt case no. 7 of 1979 although he is one of the respondents to the connected contempt case no. 8 of 1979. the petitioner having lost the election filed an election petition no. 18/79 in this court questioning the result of that election. the election petition is under the representation of the people act. the election petition is presently being tried by sri justice narasingarao, one of the honourable judges of this court.2. by 7-3-1979, nine witnesses for the election petitioner were examined......
Judgment:

P.A. Choudary, J.

1. The petitioner in this Contempt Application No. 7 of 1979 is an unsuccessful candidate at the assembly Elections held to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly in February, 1978. He lost the electoral contest which was won by one Salahuddin Owesi who is not a party to the Contempt Case No. 7 of 1979 although he is one of the respondents to the connected Contempt Case No. 8 of 1979. The petitioner having lost the election filed an Election Petition No. 18/79 in this Court questioning the result of that election. The Election Petition is under the Representation of the People Act. The Election Petition is presently being tried by Sri Justice Narasingarao, one of the Honourable Judges of this Court.

2. By 7-3-1979, nine witnesses for the election petitioner were examined. The present petitioner, as required by the new Civil P. C. examined himself as the first witness P. W. 3 one of the important witnesses for the election petitioner and a key-figure in this contempt case is one Mahaboob Alam Khan. Although his chief was over, his cross was deferred at the request of the aforesaid Sri Owesi.

3. On 7-3-1979 by the time Court rose for the day, the Chief examination of the ninth witness was over. There were large crowds attending and watching the Court proceedings. At the end of the day as these crowds were thinning out of the Court Hall and coming out of the Court premises, copies of 'Saz-E-Deccan', an evening Urdu daily newspaper, were being freely distributed among all the sundry by persons who are alleged to belong to Majlis-I-Ittehadi Muslim of which the aforesaid Owesi is the President.

4. 'Saz-E-Deccan' is a Urdu Daily of Hyderabad. Its Chief Editor is the first respondent Mohd. Baqur Hussain Shaaz and its Editor is the Second respondent, Sheriff Ahmed Khan Kurshid. The paper is printed in a press owned by N.A. Raheem an old and decrepit gentleman of about sixty years who is not made a respondent to contempt application No. 7/79. But, he figures as the fourth respondent to the connected contempt case No. 8/79. In that day's issue of Saz-E-Deccan, an article relating to the aforesaid election petition was published. The article, as translated into English, reads as follows:

The Saz-E-Deccan

Evening,

Daily, Hyderabad.

The Conspiracy of Muslim League and Janata Party against Mailis-E-Itehadul Musalman.

The Conspiracy of enemy in the guise of a friend (Marastin) and man behind the curtain from the World (Mahjood-E-Alam) is exposed.

Having instigated Osman Shaheed and Ahmed Hussain Election Petition has been filed.

Apprehension (Khadsha) to influence (Musthasir) Justice Narasingarao, in this Election Petition.

Hyderabad (Staff Reporter).

The so-called leaders of Janta Party and Muslim League who were averse on account of the success of Janab Sultan (Salahuddin Owesi's thumping majority, from Charminar Constituency in the last Assembly Elections, prepared a Conspiracy with the help and assistance of the Chief Editor of a Newspaper, Nabide Deccan (Mahjoob-E-Alam)-Man behind the Curtain from the world; Consequently, Sri Ahmed Hussain (Janata-Party) who became an M. L. A. previously with the help of Majlis-E-Itehadul Musalman and Sri Osman Shaheed, Advocate (Muslim League) filed Election Petition against Mr. Owesi; However, the people of Charminar Constituency, are quite aware of this fact that there these two gentlemen contested the election without any resources. They were neither having capacity to file the Writ, nor were they efficient enough to do this. Sri Mahjoob-E-Alam (man behind the curtain from the world) united them against Mr. Owesi by means of money and helped them in all possible manner in filing the Writ. Before filing of the Writ, there was close friendship between JanathaAb-dulla Musqathi and Mahjoob-E-Alam (Man behind the curtain from the world). On one hand Mahjoob-E-Alam (Man behind the curtain from the world) maintained the friendship with Musquathi Saheb and on the other hand, very cautiously engaged himself in the preparation of the election petition. As per the cuttings of the newspaper of which Musqathi Saheb himself is the Managing Editor, it becomes quite clear that the election petition against Janab Owesi came all at a sudden. Though the newspaper of Musqathi Saheb was openly supporting Janab Owesi, (but) due precaution was taken in this drama and Musqathi Saheb was deceived. Mahjoob-E-Alam (man behind the curtain from the world) was always pretending himself to be in favour of Janab Owesi, so much so, he told before many friends. 'I am working for Owesi Saheb, but I cannot openly come out.

In view of the present circumstances even if Janab Owesi loses the election, though it is hypo thatically impossible he is not going to lose anything. But on account of its adverse effects, the existence of the single representative of Majlis Ittehadul Mussalman will face a danger and thereby an old dream of the Conspiracy of the Government, will come true that a sole Muslim Organisation be cleared. Under these circumstances this becomes evident that 'Mus-laman' cuts the throat of a 'Mussalman'. but in the present circumstances the cut throat save himself. However, the hand of the masses are strong.

Even if the Election of Owesi is set aside, it is not possible for any one to forget the solidarity of Itehadul Musal-meen and its solid reality and that representation may not be given at any time. God forbid, even if Mr. Owesi is declared 'disqualified' even then, the Majlis-E-Itehadul Musalmeen will certainly be in a position to make some 'competent person' as its leader. Unless Musqathi Saheb is shaken, the citizens of Hyderabad, particularly the people of Charminar Constituency, Mahjoob-E-Alam (Man behind the curtain from the world) and his henchmen will not be in a position to show their faces any where, in the city.

On account of the trickery and the effect of the money of Mahjoob-E-Alam (Man behind the curtain from the world), a section of the educated class of the public feels that perhaps justice Sri Narasingarao will not allow to get his fair name affected on account of the wealth.' The petitioner charges that this article constitutes a gross contempt of this Court on the part of its Chief Editor and the Editor firstly because it tries to deter and interfere with the witnesses in support of the election petition No. 18 of 1978 and secondly, because it obstructs the course of justice and thirdly because it lowers the prestige of this Court and finally because it intimidates the Honourable Judge trying the election petition to decide the election ease in favour of Sri Owesi.

5. The Chief Editor and the Editor in their joint first counter-affidavit admitted the publication of the article and offered that they called 'an unqualified' apology for the publication of the article coupled with a half-hearted and halting explanation of their conduct, They said 'they regard the mistake' as bona fide without ever disclosing in what their bona fides consist. The calling of Mahaboob Alam Khan P. W. 3 as 'Mahboob-E-Alam, they explained as a 'spelling blunder' that had crept into the script without however telling why no errata was published. The casting of doubt on the Judge's impartiality and integrity they explained as an innocent attempt to defend the integrity and honesty of the learned Judge, however taking full care not to disclose against whose attacks this defence was raised. There is absolutely no word of explanation why an attempt was made to discuss a pending election petition in the paper in such a way as to deter and interfere with the petitioner's witnesses. The attack on the integrity and credibility of P. W. 3 went wholly unexplained.

6. In their supplementary affidavit filed while the hearing of the Contempt Cases was going on they said 'we have exceeded the limits of legitimate criticism in that words or expressions which can be construed as casting reflection upon the Court and constituting contempt had crept into it,'

7. Mr. Abdur Raheem the fourth respondent to contempt petition No. 8/79 and the sixty-year old Proprietor of the press where the 'Saz-E-Deccan' was printed, similarly filed two affidavits first offering an apology and later explaining in his supplementary affidavit that due to his old age he was not in actual management and the publication of the article was without his knowledge and approval, although he is the legal owner of the press.

8. Sri Owesi denied the allegations against him contained in contempt case No. 8/79. He asserted that the article was not published at his instance. He disclaimed all knowledge not only about the article but even about the existence of the 'Saz-E-Deccan'. He said that neither he distributed the paper nor did the printer distribute it at his instance.

9. The facts in these contempt cases are never in serious doubt nor in dispute excepting those relating to Sri Owesi. There is no denial on the part of the respondents in Contempt Case No. 7 of 1979 of the Act of their publication of the article in 'Saz-E-Deccan' as alleged by the petitioner nor was its distribution disputed. May be because such an undeniable fact could never be denied. The only question for our consideration so far as the two editors are concerned, therefore, is whether such a publication, in the circumstances of this case would amount to committing contempt of this Court. As contempt of Court proceedings are Criminal in nature, we cannot answer this issue against the editors merely on the basis of their admissions. An independent examination of the issue is therefore called for.

10. Our Constitution modelled on the Westminster type of Constitutions divides and distributes the authority of the State among the three great departments of the Government. In the States of the Union, as we have legislature possessing legislative power and the executive. possessing executive power, we have the judiciary represented by the High Court possessing the State Judicial power. This arrangement is based on the Lockenian theory of separation of powers which was given expression to by Blackstone in his Commentaries Book-I in the following words:

In this distinct and separate existence of the Judicial power in a peculiar body of men, nominated indeed, but not removable at pleasure by the Crown consists one main preservative of public liberty, which cannot sub-sist long in any state, unless the administration of common justice be in some degree separate from the legislative and also from the executive power.

11. An independent and impartial judiciary cannot be effective unless it possesses in full measure the power to punish any one who impedes its working and obstructs the execution of its orders and decrees so that for its purposeful functioning the Courts need not depend upon the other limbs of State. The Constitution therefore by means of a self-executing ordinance confers this power on the High Court (Art. 215). But, what conduct amounts to a contempt of Court is advisedly left by the Constitution for Judicial definition and determination. The idea is to make the High Courts' power to punish acts of contempt as plenary as the necessity of a particular case requires without crippling it by a formal constitutional definition. But our Courts under the Constitution, have adopted the classic definition of Oswald as a working guide. Oswald in his classic book on 'contempt of Court' defined contempt of Court in these words:

To speak generally, contempt of Court may be said to be constituted by any conduct that tends to bring the authority and administration of the law into disrespect or disregard, or to interfere with or prejudice parties litigants or their witnesses during the litigation.

12. One of the basic principles of any civilized system of justice is that a suitor is entitled in these Courts to a fair trial of his case completely free from outside pressures and prejudices. A person who filed an election petition under the Representation of the People Act is entitled to have his charges against the successful candidate heard and adjudicated upon on its merits. A judge trying such a case must therefore be free to decide according to his lights. So must be the parties to the litigation including the witnesses. The decisions in our adversary system of justice are mainly dependent upon the evidence in the case. The witness, therefore, plays a crucial role in the trial of any case involving disputed questions of fact. It follows. therefore, that the Court witness should be free to depose as he feels. It also follows that the securing of evidence by the parties in support of their respective claims should not be permitted to be impeded or obstructed. If it is open for any one to call witnesses by names and attack their integrity outside the Court through such means as the one employed by the respotidents in this case the witnesses are likely to be deterred from giving evidence freely. The law therefore treats such acts as contempt and punishes the same for the purpose of preserving the purity and efficacy of the judicial process. G.J. Borris and N.V. Lowe in their 'Law of Contempt' said:

There is a general reluctance on the part of the witnesses to give evidence in any event, but if a witness is subject to personal criticism he may be even more reluctant to give evidence.

It is for that reason, Buckley J., laid down in Vine Products v. Green (1965) 3 WLR 791.

It is a contempt if a publication is likely to interfere with the proper adduceing of evidence in the case either by discouraging the witnesses from coming forward or by influencing them in some way in the kind of evidence that they are prepared to give.

13. A.G. V.Butterworth (1962) 3 All ER 326, which is a milestone in the law of contempt needs to be noted specially. In that case, Mr. Greenless, a Member of the National Federation of Retail News Agents was relieved of his position as Branch Treasurer on the ground that he had deposed before the Court of Restrictive Trade Practices against the National Federation. A contempt motion made by the Attorney General before the Restrictive Practices Court after the case was over was dismissed by Russel J., on the ground that law of contempt did not provide for punishing a conduct adverse to a witness where such conduct occurs after the case was over. The Court of Appeal reversing this decision held in the words of ford Denning:

there can be no greater contempt then to intimidate a witness before he gives evidence or to victimise him afterwards for having given it. How can we expect a witness to give his evidence freely and frankly, as he ought to do if he is liable as soon as the case is over, to be punished for it by those who dislike to evidence he has given?... If this sort of thing could be done in a single case with impunity, the news of it would soon get round. Witnesses in other cases would be unwilling to come forward to give evidence, or, if they did come forward, they would hesitate to speak the 'truth, for fear of the consequences.

In a sub-sequent decision of Chapman v. Homie (1963) 3 All ER 513, ford Denning explained the whole principle in these words:

No system of law can justly compel a witness to give evidence and then, on finding him victimised for doing it, refuse to give him redress. It is the duty of the Court to protect the witness by every means at its command. Else the whole process of the law will be set at naught.

Lord Longdale M. R. said in Littler v. Thomson (1839) 48 ER 1129;

If witnesses are in this way deterred from coming forward in aid of legal proceedings, it will be impossible that justice can be administered. It would be better that the doors or the Courts of Justice were at once closed.

14. The Indian Law is in no way different., The Supreme Court declared in Brahma Prakash v. State of U.P. : 1954CriLJ238 that when the offending act is likely or tends in any way to interfere with the proper administration of justice it amounts to contempt of Court. Hira Lal Dixit v. State of U.P. AIR 1954 SC 743 is very instructive in that the facts in that case bear a close similarity to the facts in our case. In that case Hiralal wrote an article dealing with a transport matter coming from U. P. then pending adjudication before the Supreme Court and distributed it in the Supreme Court premises. that article contained a strong denunciatory attack on the State of U. P. which was one of the parties to those pending proceedings. The article has the following about the Supreme Court Judges:

The public has full and firm faith in the Supreme Court but sources that are in the know say that the Government acts with partiality in the matter of appointment of those Hon'ble Judges as Ambassadors, Governors, High Commissioner, etc. who give judgments against Government but this has so far not made any difference in the firmness and justice of the Hon'ble Judges.

15. The Supreme Court convicted Hiralal of contempt by making two significant findings: (a) The object of writing this paragraph and particularly publishing it at the time it was actually done was quite clearly to affect the minds of the judges and to deflect them from the strict performance of thair duties, The offending passage and the tune and place of its publication certainly tended to hinder or obstruct the due administration of justice as a contempt of court. (b) Even if the passage about the Judges were not in the leaflet the rest would still amount to serious contempt of court. There is in it strong denunciation of the State of U. P. a party to the appeal and the petitions regarding the very matters then under the consideration of the Court. It was not fair comment on the proceedings but an attempt to prejudice the Court against the State and to stir up public feeling on the very auestion then pending for decision: The manner in which the leaflets were distributed, the language used in them and the timing of their publication could only have had one object viz., to try and influence the judge in favour of the petitioner and the others, who are in the same position as himself. This again is a clear contempt of Court'.

16. In Re: P.C. Sen : 1970CriLJ1525 the then Chief Minister of West Bengal made a speech in the All India Radio, Calcutta on the night of November, 25, 1965 relating to a matter then pending adjudication before the Calcutta High Court. He was charged and found guilty of committing contempt of Court by the Calcutta High Court by making that broadcast which was calculated to obstruct the course of justice: In dismissing the appeal filed by Mr. Sen, the Supreme Court made the following observations:

Any act done or writing published which is calculated to bring a court or a judge into contempt or to lower his authority or to interfere with the due course of justice or the lawful process of the Court is a contempt of Court. R. v. Gray T (1900) 2 QB 36 at p. 40. Contempt by speech or writing may be by scandalising the court itself, or by abusing parties to actions, or by prejudicing mankind in favour or against a party before the cause is heard. It is incumbent upon courts of justice to preserve their proceedings from being misrepresented, from prejudicing the minds of the public against persons concerned as parties in causes before the cause is finally heard has pernicious consequences.

17. It is clear from the above that a person would be guilty of contempt of court either by scandalising the Court or by bringing down the authority of the court or in any other way interfering with the source of the administration of] justice or by prejudicing the parties to] the action by holding them to public ridicule or deterring the witnesses from giving evidence.

18. The task of the Judges is at no time easy, Solomon had to devise the artifice of cutting the child into parts to find out who the mother was. It. has today become most difficult of all times because, our country's constitutional fate decreed that our Courts should decide not only private disputes between citizens and citizens but also discharge the onerous responsibility of protecting the citizens and his rights from the onslaughts of the mighty State and those who come to occupy the seats of power from time to time. As Professor Holdsworth noted the danger to individual liberty is greatest today from the arbitrariness of militant party which may happen to get a transitory majority in a Democratic Government (See 53 LQR 25, 31) The Judges can no longer afford to be hene (sic) under the theme, if they are to fulfil that constitutional destiny. They must ferociously guard the ramparts of human rights and individual liberties. These responsibilities, ancient or modern, cannot effectively be discharged unless malicious writings possessing, no socially rendering' quality and undertaken for the evil purpose of deterring the witnesses and intimidating the judges, are treated as pure acts of contempt and punished as such. Only the occidental totalitarians and the oriental depots in their paranoid view of life, despite the judicial process wish to weaken it. But, let everyone realise that no one who interferes or obstructs the due process of law and administration of justice, is beyond the reach of the contempt power of this Court.

19. Applying the aforesaid statement of law to the proved facts of this case and the contents of the article, it clearly appears to us that the act of publication of the article, in the circumstances mentioned satisfied all the tests and contains all the ingredients to qualify itself into a gross contempt. By suggesting that any decision in the election petition against Sri Owesi, the successful candidate is possible only by the operation of Mahaboob. Alam Khan's wealth and trickery on the trial judge the article not only brings the authority and administration of the law into utter disrespect and disrepute, but also makes the fair trial difficult,. By calling P. W. 3. Mahboob Alam Khan, as 'Mahboob-E-Alam' describing him as a conspirator responsible for filing and proceeding with the election petition, it prejudices that witness against the most of the world and lowers his reputation and reliability as a witness. Above all by calling any unseating of Mr. Owesi as amounting to a Musalman cutting the throat of a Musalman, the article suggests that no Musalman should depose against Mr. Owesi, and in favour of the election petitioner.

20. The article also suggests that although nothing would be lost by Mr. Owesi by losing the election petition P. W. 3 who, by means of an innuendo, is called a 'cut-throat' is sure to suffer retribution from the hands of the masses. The threat in effect works not only against Mahaboob Alam Khan P. W. 3, but also against other witnesses. It is argued by the petitioner that the word 'Mahboob' means 'shameless' although in the official translation that word is rendered as 'man behind the world'. Taking any one of these two meanings, it is clear that the article casts a serious doubt on the credibility of P. W. 3.

21. Justice in our Courts is not a marketable commodity to be sold to the highest bidder although Marx did say that Capitalistic justice is that only, we are too deeply committed to the traditions of Magna Carta (1215) which pledges itself 'to none will we sell, to none will we deny, to none will we delay the rights of justice'. By the suggestion made to the effect that a decision against Sri Owesi is possible only under the influence of money and trickery of P. W. 3 on the judge, the editors are bringing the administration of justice into ridicule. We, therefore, hold the Chief Editor of Saz-E-Deccan Sri Mohd. Baqur Hussain Shaaz and its Editor, Sheriff Ahmed Khan Kurshid guilty of having committed contempt of Court by their act of publication of the article in their Newspaper dated 6-3-1979 regarding the election petition-The Editors are clearly trying to backmail and intimidate the learned Judges.

22. In the connected contempt Case No. 8 of 1979 in addition to the aforesaid Chief Editor and Editor, Sri Owesi the successful candidate at the elections and the owner of the press where Saz-E-Deccan was printed are made parties. We need say nothing more against the two editors separately in Contempt Case No. 8 of 1979.

23. The allegation against Sri Owesi is that he is the President of Majlia-E-Itehadul Musalmeen and it is for his benefit and at his behest the article was published by the editors and was even distributed. Sri Owesi, on oath, denied these allegations made against him although significantly enough he did not deny his presence in Court when the paper was distributed. He not only asserted that the offending article was not published at his instance but even disclaimed knowledge of the existence of the Urdu daily, Saz-E-Deccan. It appears to us to be rather difficult to believe that the President of Majlis-E-Itehadul Musalmeen is not even aware of the existence of the Urdu daily being published from Hyderabad. We are also not sure that the communal appeal made in the Urdu daily in support of Sri Owesi, was made even without his knowledge. Above all, his failure to take step to prevent the distribution of the paper clearly makes us suspicious of his real intent. As a responsible Legislator, he should have called a halt to the vulgar preparation of declamatory writings against the Court. These circumstances taken together make us greatly suspicious about the varacity of the statement made by Sri Owesi in his counter-affidavit. But, in the absence of any attempt on the part of the petitioners to establish the truth by giving oral evidence and cross-examining Sri. Owesi, we think we will not be justified in holding Sri. Owesi also guilty of contempt of court by accepting the allegation of the Petitioners. We therefore, acquit Sri Owesi of the charge of contempt of Court by giving him the benefit of doubt. We accordingly dismiss the Contempt Case No. 8/79 against Sri Owesi.

24. But, M.A. Raheem, the owner of the Press where the Saz-E-Deccan was printed is clearly guilty of contempt. Raheem in his counter-affidavit while admitting printing of the offending article pleaded in sub-stance that he has no mens rea and that he is old and not in actual control of the press. that does not absolve Raheem from guilt. For the commission of offence of contempt of Courts, no mens rea is required (See R. V. Odham's Press Ltd. Ex parte A. G. (1956) 3 All ER 494. We therefore held Raheem also guilty of contempt of this Court.

25. Now what remains is the quantum of punishment, to be awarded to these whom we have held in the above guilty of contempt. Mr. Beg arguing for the respondents, said that we should accept his clients' apology which he said was offered unconditionally and at the earliest moment. Mr. Beg almost said that this Court loses its power to punish a contemner the moment the contemner offers, as the contemners did in this case, his unconditional apology to the Court at the earliest moment. We are afraid that we cannot either in principle or authority accept this submission. The power to punish contempts is conferred on this Court by reason of Article 215. This power being directly in the gift of the Constitution cannot be taken away or abrogated or whittled down by any Act of the Parliament. For the power of the Parliament to make laws is subject to the provisions of the Constitution. For its limitation we must look to Article 215 of the Constitution only and in Article 215 we find none. It does not stand to reason to argue that what the Parliament cannot abridge a contemner can render nugatory. This matter was considered by Oswald who, on a review of the cases laid down the correct legal position as follows:

But for a gross and deliberate contempt by a defendant in publishing a circular concerning a case ten days in prison was awarded, although an apology was made at the bar see likely Local Board v. Oswald Lister (1895) 2 TLR 176.

26. In principle, therefore, the submission of Mr. Beg is incorrect.

27. Mr. Beg has cited Aswini Kumar v. Arabinda Bose : AIR1953SC75 Debabrata v. State : 1969CriLJ401 , Mulkh Raj v. State of Punjab : 1972CriLJ754 and Baradakanta v. Registrar, Orissa H. C. : 1974CriLJ631 in support of his contention that when once an unconditional apology has been tendered by the contemner at the earliest moment, his Court should accept the apology and should not punish the contemner. We have perused these cases and we do not find in any one of them the Supreme Court laying down any such proposition of law. In : AIR1953SC75 (supra) the Editor of Times of India was found guilty of committing contempt of Court by writing and publishing an article under the heading 'A disturbing decision'. By means of that article a judgment of the Supreme Court which had the effect of putting an end to the dual system prevailing in the Calcutta and Bombay High Courts was criticised by attributing motives to the judges. This was considered as contempt of Court, but the unconditional apology tendered by the editor was accepted. In : 1954CriLJ238 (supra) the Supreme Court ruled that the contempt, if any, in that case, was only of a technical character and that after the affidavits are filed on behalf of the appellants, before the Court, the proceedings against them should have been dropped. In : 1974CriLJ631 (supra) the passage on which Mr. Beg relied upon runs in these words:

The appellant throughout took a defiant attitude and did not even think it necessary to offer an apology. Ordinarily we would be most reluctant to interfere with the sentence imposed by the High Court but for the fact that we have noticed that he has almost come to the end of the judicial career and during the last few years has been crippled by a sort of mania against the High Court which clouded his reason. We think the object of punishment will be served by directing him to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000/-or in default to suffer simple imprisonment for 3 months in sub-stitution of the sentence inflicted by the High Court.

28. This case also does not lay down any proposition of law of the nature contended for by the learned Counsel. In none of the three cases of the Supreme Court herein above referred to, the question which is now being advanced by the learned Counsel Mr. Beg was either advanced or considered. In : 1969CriLJ401 (supra) the observations which Mr. Beg referred to are to be found in paragraph 7 and they are as follows:

Of course, an apology must be effected and that too clearly and at the earliest opportunity. A person who offers a belated apology runs the risk that it may not be accepted for such an apology hardly shows the contrition which is the essence of in purging of a contempt.

These observations also do not lend any support to the proposition advanced by Mr. Beg. : 1972CriLJ754 (supra) deals again with the question when an apology to be accepted should be tendered. None of the cases cited by Mr. Beg lay down any proposition of law that a Court is powerless to reject an apology tendered at the earliest moment. The question whether an apology should be accepted or rejected depends upon the gravity of the offence and circumstances under which it has been conveyed.

29. In this case, the editors have written an article without any provocation whatsoever and further they judged the merits of the case. In AIR 1954 SC 743 (supra), the Supreme Court considering similar circumstances held 'that in all the circumstances of this case it is a fit case where the power of the Court should be exercised and that it is necessary to impose punishment of imprisonment. People must know that they cannot, with impunity hinder or obstruct or attempt to hinder or obstruct the due course of administration of justice.'

30. We, therefore, convict Sri Mohd. Baqar Hussain Shaaz the Chief Editor of Saz-E-Deccan and Sri Sheriff Ahmed Khan Kurshid, the editor of Saz-E-Deccan to be guilty of contempt of this Court and sentence them to undergo simple imprisonment for two weeks. In awarding this punishment, we took full note of the fact that these two contemners not only attempted to deter the witness and influence the trial of the election petition, but they also launched an uncalled for and unprovoked attack on the learned Judge. Above all, we take note of the fact that their article has no socially redeeming quality. As ford Russel of Killowen C. J. at p. 40 said in a similar matter:

It is not criticism. I repeat that it is personal, scurrilous abuse of a Judge as a Judge.

Although we held Raheem also guilty of contempt of Court, his guilt is more technical then intentional. He old man of sixty. He is not in actual management of the press. Considering these uncontradicted facts, we accept his apology and let him off with a warning.

31. In the circumstances of the ease we make no order as to costs.

32. They are committed to District Jail Secunderabad.


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