1. It was brought to our notice by one M. G. Kadir that Kesri Narain Jaitly had filed in the Court of the Munsif, West Allahabad, an application which contained defamatory statements about the Chief Justice of this Court, statements which amounted to contempt of Court. He also brought to our notice that the application had been signed by Kesri Narain Jaitly's Advocates, Mr. Bahadur Lal and Mr. Radha Mohan. M. G. Kadir filed a copy of the application. He was concerned with the matter because the application had been filed in proceedings to which he was a party. We issued notice to Kesri Narain Jaitly, Mr. Bahadur Lal and Mr. Radha Mohan to show cause why they should not be punished for contempt. We have already dealt with Mr. Radha Mohan. We later issued a warrant for the arrest of Kesri Narain Jaitly who did not appear before us, but he has not yet been arrested. We consider that we should dispose of the case against Mr. Bahadur Lal without further delay. Paragraph 4 of the application according to the translation which has been prepared for us is as follows:
Sir Iqbal Ahmad aforesaid was not a qualified Judge for the hearing of the revision for the reasons given below and as such the decision and the order of the said Hon'ble Judge is null, void and un-enforcible and this Court is not bound thereby. In order to do justice to the defendant, this Court should take proceedings in accordance with the powers vested in it.
(a) The said Hon'ble Judge, through personal grudge and malice, without any reasonable ground, put the defendant to disgrace and insulted him in open Court on 12th March 1941, on account of which the defendant gave a notice to him under Section 80, Civil P.C. mentioning the cause of action and claiming damages. As far as the information of the defendant goes and as far as it transpires from the acts and (observations in) writing of the Hon'ble Judge, it appears that this incurred his displeasure and he has avenged himself by bringing a presumptuous charge of contempt of Court against the defendant and got several notices, warrants and pro-clamations issued against him at different places. He has thus left no stone unturned in harassing the defendant.
(b) The defendant in his notice demanded apology from the Hon'ble Judge and claimed damages, but he neither made any reply nor did he tender an apology nor paid the damages.' As the only alternative left, the defendant, in order to protect his honour and maintain his self-respect, filed Suit No. 103 of 1941 in this Court, which, as a matter of policy, struck it off, against law and justice, and an appeal from the same has been preferred in the Court of the District Judge, Allahabad, which is still pending. This act of the defendant has all' 'the more displeased the said Hon'ble Judge, who is now bent upon bringing the ruin of the defendant and the members of his family and does not miss any opportunity to put the defendant and the members of his family to disgrace, and this is proving ruinous to the defendant and the members of his family.
(c) The above incidents have totally turned the mind of the Hon'ble the Chief Justice against (the defendant) on account of which there is a strong apprehension and fear that no justice will be done in any case of the defendant or of the members of his family, pending in his Court, nor is it expected that proceedings would be taken in a regular manner.
(d) On the application for revision the Hon'ble Mr. Justice Allsop passed an order, staying meanwhile the proceedings in the case. According to the rule and practice in the High Court, only the above mentioned Judge could hear the revision case and pass orders, but the stay order was cancelled by Sir Iqbal Ahmad;
It cannot be doubted that the allegations made in the application against the Chief Justice of this Court acting in his judicial capacity amounted to the grossest contempt. Learned Counsel for Mr. Bahadur Lal urged, in the first place, that we should quash these proceedings because there was a technical defect in the affidavit filed by M. G. Kadir as the verification stated that the contents of the affidavit were true to the deponent's knowledge and belief without specifying which paragraphs were true according to his personal knowledge and which were true only according to his belief. There is clearly no force in this contention. M. G. Kadir placed before us a copy of the application signed by Mr. Bahadur Lal and Mr. Bahadur Lal has admitted that he signed an application in these terms. If doubtful questions of fact were involved it might be that we should refuse to issue notice to a person charged with contempt without satisfying ourselves by means of an affidavit that there was reasonable ground for thinking that an offence of contempt had been committed, but there is no rule of law which prevents us from proceeding against a person who has been guilty of contempt without first obtaining an affidavit from some person. In the present case the contempt is obvious on the face of the application.
2. It was also suggested by learned Counsel for Mr. Bahadur Lal that his client should have notice of the particular paragraphs in the application which constituted contempt. Mr. Bahadur Lal is an advocate and it is absurd to suggest that he did not understand the gravamen of the charge against him. To avoid all possibility of doubt upon this point we drew Mr. Bahadur Lal's particular notice to para. 4 of the application. Learned Counsel for Mr. Bahadur Lal contended, in the third place, that his client wished to produce evidence to show that the allegations made in this paragraph were true. We are satisfied that we cannot allow any attempt to justify the allegations by insisting upon their truth. Nobody is allowed to scandalise a Court and make allegations against it even if they are true. The truth of the allegation is no defence in proceedings for contempt. It is, indeed, obvious that every attempt to justify must constitute a new offence of contempt committed in the very face of the Court. When we informed Mr. Bahadur Lal that this was the position he made a statement in which he attempted to offer some excuse for his conduct. He said that he had an honest belief that his client was entitled to make these allegations in order to obtain relief from the Court in which the allegations were made and that he had no animus against the Chief Justice. He did not say in this explanation that he himself believed the allegations to be false and it would have been very difficult for him to do so after haying sought to establish their truth by means of evidence.
3. In the last resort Mr. Bahadur Lal offered an unqualified apology, but he was very much too late in taking that course. Contempts of Court are becoming very much too common and we must put a stop to them, if we possibly can, not in the interests of the individual judges but in the interests of the administration of justice. All efforts to destroy public confidence in the judiciary are exceedingly mischievous. Attempts to slander judges in the hope that they will be influenced to decide future cases of a particular class in one way or another must be rigorously suppressed. Judges must not be dragged into the arena of controversy. No person must be allowed to interfere with Courts of justice either by attempting to influence their decisions by anything done outside the Court or by attempting to set their orders at naught. In the present case it appears from the application itself that the object of Kesri Narain Jaitly was to prevent the execution of the orders of this Court by means which to an advocate such as Mr. Bahadur Lal must have been clearly improper. The law allows orders to be questioned in some circumstances by way of appeal or revision, but once the order of a Court becomes final, it must be accepted. The law would become ridiculous and cease to function if every final order of a superior Court could be questioned in a lower Court upon the ground that the Judge of the superior Court was acting from improper motives. Any order passed by the lower Court would again be questioned in some other Court and judicial proceedings would have no ending. We must take some effective action to put a stop to conduct of this kind. We feel that we must punish Mr. Bahadur Lal in such a way that he and others will realise their responsibilities. There is not the slightest doubt that Mr. Bahadur Lal was guilty of gross contempt and we sentence him, in accordance with the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, to simple imprisonment for a period of two months. We do not think it necessary to impose any fine upon him but he will pay the costs of the opposite party and of the Government.