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Emperor Vs. Jagannath Prasad Swadhin - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1938All358
AppellantEmperor
RespondentJagannath Prasad Swadhin
Excerpt:
.....apart from this, as we have already observed, the remarks contained in the application sent to the small cause court judge concerning the judges of this court clearly amounted to contempt of this court, and, as such, we, in any view of the matter, have jurisdiction to punish the opposite party in these proceedings. further, we shall he failing in our duty to uphold the legitimate dignity of the courts below if, in a case like the present, which is a glaring example of gross contempt of the subordinate courts, we are to accept this apology......a report to the district judge and annexed the application to that report. by his report, the learned judge invited the district judge to bring the matter to the notice of this court for necessary action. the district judge accordingly brought the matter to the notice of this court. in his report the learned small cause court judge stated that he was not at all keen to try the case of the opposite party as it appeared that the opposite party apprehended that he will not have justice from his court. the learned judge however pointed out that he had no power to transfer the case from his file and observed that the applicant should move the district judge for the transfer of the case. the district judge presumably in view of this observation contained in the report submitted by the.....
Judgment:

Iqbal Ahmad, J.

1. Jagannath Prasad Swadhin, opposite party, has appeared in this Court in response to a notice directing him to appear before this Court on 1st March to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt of Court in respect of two applications one of which was written and sent by him to the Judge, Small Cause Court, Cawnpore and the other to the Munsif, Akbarpur, in connexion with Civil Case No. 2059 of 1937 Jagannath Prasad Swadhin v. Shambhoo Dayal. The opposite party was plaintiff in the suit referred to above and the suit was pending in the Court of the Small Cause Court Judge of Cawnpore. During the pendency of that suit, the opposite party sent an application by post to the address of the Small Cause Court Judge in the course of which he made inter alia the following remarks:.that you acted at the instigation of your reader who is in the habit of taking bribes. Just in the same manner all the officials of your Court including the Munsarim who occupies the position of authority, takes bribes. You in order to encourage bribes unjustly dismissed my Suit No. 4881 of 1933 Jagannath Prasad v. Gulzari Lal and Ors. and Suit No. 4486 of 1934 Jagannath Prasad v. Kallumal Udairam and out of religious bias, grudge and malice, illegally awarded costs and ruined me. Similarly, in Suit No. 4109 of 1935 Jagannath Prasad v. Jageshwar and Ors. you out of your cleverness did not give any opportunity of summoning a witness of Dhanbad...and while I had gone away for an application to be written you even dismissed the above suit in the manner stated above.

Having had the experience of seeing justice administered in the above cases and considering your attitude, I have absolutely no hope that you will do justice in the above case, in spite of the fact that the defendant is admitting my claim word by word.... You have taken steps to ruin mo out of grudge and malice in spite of the fact that my case was substantiated from the facts on the records of the cases. The Judges of the High Court who feed themselves with public money blindly and whose fat salaries have brought about the ruin of the country have considered your judgments as correct out of your regard and to meet the obligations of friendship have dismissed the revisions without going through the records. I have lodged a complaint against his to the U.P. Congress Ministry on 4th August 1937, as under no Government any credit can be given to Judges like yourself, who ruin the public and bring disgrace to the Government by killing justice. Justice is the foundation of every Government.... No just minded Court will do such mischief as you have done to ruin me. Your acts of injustice have compelled me not to file suits although they can be proved in every detail.... Having no confidence in you, I am submitting my statement in writing along with this application.

2. A note is appended at the foot of this application the material portion of which is as follows:

You are annoyed at me as I am a congress man. I will not attend the Court on the date of hearing unless you assure me of my being out of danger by sending me a verbatim copy of your order allowing this application, as you and your reader have several times attacked me with filthy language and which I do not wish to tolerate in future.... In case I do not receive any intimation from you till the date of hearing and in consequence I do not attend the Court the responsibility of all that will lie on you and you will have no power to dismiss my suit in default.

3. On receipt of this application, the learned Small Cause Court Judge on 11th September 1937, submitted a report to the District Judge and annexed the application to that report. By his report, the learned Judge invited the District Judge to bring the matter to the notice of this Court for necessary action. The District Judge accordingly brought the matter to the notice of this Court. In his report the learned Small Cause Court Judge stated that he was not at all keen to try the case of the opposite party as it appeared that the opposite party apprehended that he will not have justice from his Court. The learned Judge however pointed out that he had no power to transfer the case from his file and observed that the applicant should move the District Judge for the transfer of the case. The District Judge presumably in view of this observation contained in the report submitted by the Small Cause Court Judge transferred the case to the file of the Munsif of Akbarpur. The learned Munsif dismissed the suit of the opposite party and then on 1st October 1937, the opposite party filed an application, purporting to be an application for review of judgment, before the learned Munsif of Akbarpur. In the course of that application he made inter alia the following remarks:.When I went to affix my signature on the judgment, I saw that the Court, had, by way of a precautionary measure and by way of malice and grudge, made some further notes below the judgment passed against me.... I, the petitioner plaintiff, was acquainted with the learned presiding Judge of the Court since the time he was an Additional Munsif and knew him to be a very clever person. A Court of law is just like a doctor and adopts a harsh and unjust mood towards a weak person.... During the pendency of the case, the Court maintained an attitude of malice and grudge which had arisen against my vakil at the time of the displeasure of the Additional Munsif...the Court after reading the application which I, the petitioner plaintiff, made against the Judge of the Small Cause Court in the hope of justice being administered to me took part of the Court and knowingly passed the unlawful judgment at the expense of justice simply to harass the plaintiff petitioner by injustice. This judgment can never be considered to be correct in any dream of the conception of law...I make this application to the Court by way of review of judgment and at the same time give directions that in future such mischiefs, based on injustice should be avoided even in dreams to cause harm to any party who happens to be weak or whose pleader may not be present, otherwise this action of yours will have an unfavourable effect on the prestige of the Government and justice and will prove detrimental to the cause of the country. Now the time is gone when the Court used to work havoc in the public by exercising almighty powers. If you fail to take into consideration this petition of mine you should remember that I will picket the open Court and if the matter is prolonged I will also go on hunger-strike and will have no regard for a sentence of imprisonment...petitioner will be compelled to wage a war against the Court, fought by no one in the world upto this time.

4. The opposite party has to-day filed a written statement in Hindi language and has read the same in open Court and the written statement has been translated to us by the reader of the Court. The opposite-party is also represented by counsel who in the course of his argument has raised a question of law which shall presently be considered. The learned Counsel has further stated that his client tenders an apology and throws himself at the mercy of this Court. The written statement also purports to contain an apology. We are however for the reasons to be presently stated, unable to accept the apology. It is needless to observe that the two applications referred to above contain baseless, contemptuous and scandalous allegations against the presiding officers of two Courts and clearly amount to gross contempt of those Courts. Further the petition presented before the learned Munsif of Akbarpur contains a deliberate threat to resort to what the opposite party characterizes as picketing and hunger strike. Again the remark contained in the application sent to the Small Cause Court Judge concerning the Judges of the High Court amounts to clear contempt of this Court.

5. The groundless attacks made by the opposite party on the judicial conscience and independence of the presiding officers of the two Courts were as unwarranted as they were uncalled for and we cannot but take serious notice of the same. It is imperative in the interest of ordered progress of society that the judicial independence of the presiding officers of the Courts below be maintained with a strong hand and scandalous attacks on those officers should not be allowed to pass unnoticed. It is further imperative in the interest of the administration of justice that politics should be sternly kept out of the precincts of the Court and that the public must be made to feel that the Courts are not amenable to political or executive influence. These facts render it imperative that the opposite party must be dealt with according to law. It is however contended by the learned Counsel for the opposite party that as the allegations contained in the two applications amounted to the offence of defamation, which offence is punishable under Section 500, Penal Code, this Court is not competent to take proceedings for contempt of Court against the opposite party with respect to those allegations. In support of this contention reliance is placed on Clause (3) of Section 2, Contempt of Courts Act (Act 12 of 1926). Clause (3) runs as follows:

No High Court shall take cognizance of a contempt alleged to have been committed in respect of a Court subordinate to it where such contempt is an offence punishable under the Penal Code.

6. The contention of the learned Counsel is that if the acts alleged to constitute contempt also constitute an offence punishable under the Penal Code the jurisdiction of this Court to take proceedings under the Act is barred. We are unable to agree with this contention. Clause (3) of Section 2 has been judicially interpreted by the Patna High Court in Kaulashia v. Emperor (1933) 20 A.I.R. Pat. 142 and Janendra Prasad Bose v. Gopal Prasad Sen (1933) 20 A.I.R. Pat. 204. In both these cases it was held that the true interpretation of the clause is that where there is already a provision in the Penal Code for punishing a contempt of Court as a contempt of Court, the Contempt of Courts Act itself shall have no application. The learned Judges of the Patna High Court further observed that Clause (3) does not mean that when the act which has constituted the contempt of Court also constitutes an offence under the Penal Code it may not be punished under the Contempt of Courts Act. To the same effect is the decision of the Lahore High Court in Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. v. G.S. Monga (1936) 23 A.I.R. Lah. 917.

7. The interpretation put on Clause (3) of Section 2 by the Patna and the Lahore High Courts commended itself to the learned Judges of the Calcutta High Court though they did not express a definite opinion on the point : vide Dharnidhar Singha v. Satish Chandra Giri : AIR1932Cal705 . The words 'is art offence punishable under the Penal Code' in Clause (3) are preceded by the words 'such contempt.' This, in our judgment, shows that the clause is applicable only to cases in which the offence referred to in that clause is punishable under the Penal Code as contempt. Prior to the passing of the Contempt of Courts Act, there was divergence of judicial opinion on the question as to whether the High Courts of Judicature established by Letters Patent which are superior Courts of record have jurisdiction to take cognizance of and to punish contempt of Courts subordinate to the High Courts and it was with a view to remove this conflict that the Contempt of Courts Act was passed. The Act now removes any doubt as to the powers of High Courts of Judicature in regard to the protection of the subordinate Courts from contempt. An act may amount to an offence under the Penal Code and it may also amount to contempt of Court. In such case the act will be punishable both under the Penal Code and as contempt of Court. The only exception to this rule that has been enacted by the Contempt of Courts Act is that if the act is punishable by the Penal Code as contempt of Court then that act cannot form the subject of contempt proceedings by the High Court. Section 228, Penal Code provides for punishment of intentional insult or interruption to a public servant sitting in judicial proceeding. This section provides for punishment of contempt of Court and the offence contemplated by that section cannot therefore in view of the provisions of Clause (3) of Section 2, form the subject of proceedings for contempt by this Court. Similarly if there be any other provision in the Penal Code about the punishment of an offence as contempt of Court then that offence cannot be made the subject of contempt proceedings by this Court.

8. In the case before us the allegations and insinuations contained in the two applications did no doubt amount to the offence of defamation as defined by Section 499, I.P.C. But the offence of defamation is made punishable by the Code not as an offence of contempt of Court but as an offence of defamation. In the case before us, it was no doubt open to the judicial officers concerned to file complaints for the offence of defamation as against the opposite party. But the institution of such complaints would have vindicated the character of those judicial officers in their individual and judicial capacity. The purpose of contempt proceedings is however entirely different. The object of such proceedings is to vindicate the dignity and honour of the Courts subordinate to this Court and this purpose could not have been served by the institution of complaints by the judicial officers. For the reasons given above we hold that Clause (3) of Section 2, Contempt of Courts Act is no bar to the present proceedings. The view that we take does not appear to be in consonance with the decision of Sulaiman C.J. in Ziaul Hasan v. Aziz Ahmad : AIR1935All896 . In that case his Lordship dismissed an application praying for proceedings to be taken for contempt of Court with the observation that:

This is clearly a defamatory statement against the presiding officer, which would be a criminal offence under the Penal Code and for which the officer concerned has a remedy by way of filing a complaint. I would not take cognizance of this offence as one falling under the Contempt of Courts Act.

9. It does not appear from the judgment of the learned Chief Justice whether he dismissed the application on the ground that this Court had no jurisdiction to take proceedings for contempt when the subject of those proceedings amounts to the offence of defamation under the Penal Code, or whether he in the exercise of his discretion, refused to initiate proceedings for contempt of Court. But, if the learned Chief Justice took the view that this Court under the circumstances has no jurisdiction, we, for the reasons already stated, respectfully dissent from that view. Apart from this, as we have already observed, the remarks contained in the application sent to the Small Cause Court Judge concerning the Judges of this Court clearly amounted to contempt of this Court, and, as such, we, in any view of the matter, have jurisdiction to punish the opposite party in these proceedings.

10. We now pass to a consideration of the written statement filed by the opposite party. It starts with the statement that the opposite party tenders an apology with respect to his acts, but this apology is followed by a long sermon in the course of which it is pointed out that corruption is-prevalent in the Courts below on a large scale and that the Honourable the Chief Justice, His Excellency the Governor, the Hon'ble the Premier, and the Hon'ble Ministers are devising means to put au end to this evil. Then the opposite party narrates the various forms of corruption that he alleges prevail in the Courts below. It is then stated in the written statement that the opposite party is not only a supporter but the chief worker of the Congress and an advocate of 'change in administration'. It is then pointed out that the realization of court-fees for administering justice and the decision of 100 or 125 cases by Small Cause Court Judges in 4 or 5 hours results in denial of justice. The law of limitation is stigmatized as law based on dishonest principles. Further, it is stated that it is the duty of this Court to go into facts in revision. In the written statement it is again asserted that the presiding officers concerned are mere puppets in the hands of their staff and do not administer justice.

11. This written statement far from containing a genuine apology reiterates to some extent the charges contained in the two applications. We cannot treat the written statement as a genuine apology as the opposite party even now does not admit his guilt and does not unconditionally throw himself at the mercy of the Court. Further, we shall he failing in our duty to uphold the legitimate dignity of the Courts below if, in a case like the present, which is a glaring example of gross contempt of the subordinate Courts, we are to accept this apology. We have therefore unhesitatingly come to the conclusion that the opposite party must be committed to civil prison for contempt of Court. In our judgment, the proper sentence to pass in such a case is the maximum sentence allowed by law, viz. sentence of imprisonment for six months. But having seen the opposite party we are inclined to the view that he is endowed with a somewhat excitable temper and this fact in our judgment constitutes a justification for mitigation of sentence. Accordingly we direct that Jagannath Prasad Swadin be committed to civil prison for a period of three months. The imprisonment will be simple.


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