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The State Vs. Raghubir Sahai Kaithwar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectContempt of Court
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Misc. Contempt Case No. 13 of 1966
Judge
Reported inAIR1967All586; 1967CriLJ1594
ActsContempt of Courts Act, 1952 - Sections 1
AppellantThe State
RespondentRaghubir Sahai Kaithwar
Appellant AdvocateM.M. Chaturvedi, Asstt. Govt. Adv.
Respondent AdvocateK.P. Agarwal and ;C.S. Saran, Advs.
Excerpt:
.....the manner of his administration of justice but has also shown how high the family status of the judicial magistrate would be who considers notorious gangsters, drunkards and bullies to be greater leaders than the legislators 3. the judicial magistrate accordingly addressed a letter to the additional district magistrate, fatehpur on 3-1-1966, for necessary action in the matter. i am afraid, this case has no application here, inasmuch as apart from casting aspersions on the personal conduct and character of the judicial magistrate, the opposite party has also indulged in attributing motives to him in the discharge of his judicial functions, which were said to be governed or directed by persons like the district magistrate, the reader, the ahalmad and the court-inspector 7. the second..........of the opposite parties state v. ram saran and was pending in the court of shri dinesh mohan arya, judicial magistrate bindki at fatehpur the opposite party was the main prosecution witness in the case; but he was disbelieved with the result, that the magistrate acquitted the accused. in his judgment, the magistrate passed scathing remarks against the opposite party and awarded a compensation of rs. 500 to be paid to lallan accused. against the said order the opposite party filed an appeal before the sessions judge which is still pending. he also came to this court for expunction of adverse remarks against him. by its order dated 14-4-1966 this court expunged only one word from the remarks of the magistrate but maintained the rest.2. soon after the magistrate had awarded compensation to.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Gyanendra Kumar, J.

1. The opposite party, Raghubir Sahai Kaithwal, is an M. L A. from Fatehpur. The admitted facts are that a case under Section 323 I. P. C was instituted against Ram Saran alias Lallan at the Instance of the opposite parties State v. Ram Saran and was pending in the court of Shri Dinesh Mohan Arya, Judicial Magistrate Bindki at Fatehpur The opposite party was the main prosecution witness in the case; but he was disbelieved with the result, that the Magistrate acquitted the accused. In his judgment, the Magistrate passed scathing remarks against the opposite party and awarded a compensation of Rs. 500 to be PAid to Lallan accused. Against the said order the opposite party filed an appeal before the Sessions Judge which is still pending. He also came to this Court for expunction of adverse remarks against him. By its Order dated 14-4-1966 this Court expunged only one word from the remarks of the Magistrate but maintained the rest.

2. Soon after the Magistrate had awarded compensation to Lallan aforesaid, the opposite party distributed a printed pamphlet on 28-11-1965 in which, inter alia, he alleged that the Magistrate, Shri Dinesh Mohan Arya, depends upon the mercy of the District Magistrate and acts according to the letter's directions, that he also acts upon the advice of his Reader, Ahalmad and Court-Inspector and that the three officials aforesaid bring to bear their influence in getting certain wrong and unjust orders passed by the said Presiding Officer, which are set aside in appeal by the Sessions Judge and the Commissioner and further that, in order to avoid his judgments being challenged before the appellate courts, the Magistrate ante-dates his judgments; that the opposite party had exposed the nefarious deeds of the District Magistrate and others by distributing pamphlets as also raising questions in the Assembly and by addressing several complaints to the Chief Minister. However, on account of the fact that the Chief Minister did not consider the allegations to be correct, the District Magistrate and others, in order to take revenge through the agency of the 'Yes-man' Judicial Officer, and with a desire to belittle and injure him, entered into a conspiracy. The pamphlet goes oh to say that whatever the Magistrate has done, through the co-operation of his Reader. Ahalmad and Court-Inspector as well as of one or two favourite vakils, has not only exposed the manner of his administration of justice but has also shown how high the family status of the Judicial Magistrate would be who considers notorious gangsters, drunkards and bullies to be greater leaders than the legislators

3. The Judicial Magistrate accordingly addressed a letter to the Additional District Magistrate, Fatehpur on 3-1-1966, for necessary action in the matter. The Additional District Magistrate, in his turn, referred the matter to the Registrar of this Court on 6-1-1966 whereupon proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act were started against the opposite party by this Court.

4. There can be no doubt that in the instant case the alleged contempt would fall inthe category of scandalising the court and impairing its dignity in the eyes of the people,who are likely to lose confidence in the dispensation of justice by the Judicial Magistratein question.

5 The opposite party has filed a long counter-affidavit explaining his conduct and has asserted that the same did not amount to contempt of court At the end, however, it is stated that if this Court conies to the conclusion that the opposite party is guilty of contempt then he throws himself at its mercy and begs to be excused, inasmuch as he never intended to bring into contempt the courts established by law In this Country.

6. Shri C. S. Saran, learned counsel for the opposite party, has not challenged that the contents of the pamphlet published by his client amount to scandasation of the Magistrate, In the discharge of his judicial functions. What he really contends is that scandalising a court has ceased to be contempt. In support of this theory, Shri Saran invited my attention to three foreign decisions: The first one is In the matter of Special Ref. from the Bahama Islands, 1893 AC 138. In that case a letter was published in a Colonial newspapers containing criticism of the conduct of the Chief Justice of the colony, whereupon the editor of the paper was sentenced for contempt of court. On reference being made to their Lordships of the Judicial Committee, they came to the conclusion that the nature of the contents of the letter published in the newspaper were such that it might have been made the subject of proceedings for libel, but was not, in the circumstances, calculated to obstruct or Interfere with the course of justice or the due administration of law. I am afraid, this case has no application here, inasmuch as apart from casting aspersions on the personal conduct and character of the Judicial Magistrate, the opposite party has also indulged in attributing motives to him in the discharge of his judicial functions, which were said to be governed or directed by persons like the District Magistrate, the Reader, the Ahalmad and the Court-Inspector

7. The second case is Mcleod v. St. Aubyan, 1899 AC 549. In this ruling Lord Morris delivering the judgment of the Board said:

'Committals for contempt of Court are ordinarily in cases where some contempt ex facie of the Court has been committed, or for comments on cases pending in the Courts. However, there can be no doubt that there is a third head of contempt of Court by the publication of scandalous matter of the Court itself. Lord Hardwicks so lays down without doubt in the case of In re, Read and Huggonson, 1742-2 Atk 469. He says, 'One Kind of contempt is scandalising the Court itself.' The power summarily to commit for contempt of Court is considered necessary for the proper administration of justice. It is not to be used for the vindication of the Judge as a person. He must resort to action for libel or criminal Information. Committal for contempt of Court is a weapon to be used sparingly, and always with reference to the interests of the administration of justice Hence when a trial has taken place and the case is over, the Judge or the fury are given over to criticism.

It is a summary process, and should be used only from a sense of duty and under the pressure of public necessity, for there can be no landmarks pointing out the boundaries in all cases. Committals for contempt of Courtby scandalising the Court Itself have become obsolete in this country. Courts are satisfied to leave to public opinion, attacks or comments derogatory or scandalous to them. But it must be considered that in small colonies, consisting principally of coloured populations, the enforcement in proper cases of committal for contempt of Court for attacks on the Court may be absolutely necessary to preserve in such a community the dignity of and respect for the Court.'

8. It is note-worthy that even though the learned Lord, thought that committals for contempt of Court by scandalising the Court itself had become obsolete in England, he was of the opinion that in the colonies the principle did not apply. Whatever be the position in western democracies like England, the position of law and the circumstances obtaining in this country are entirely different. The democracy in India is less than two decades old, where a vast majority of the population is still illiterate and sadly suffers from lack of responsibility and propriety. The social and economic conditions of the public in India are again such that it would be very dangerous, to grant them the liberty of scandalising the courts in unbridled manner. It is true that even in India, in suitable cases fair and bona fide criticism of the judicial acts of the court may some time be permitted. But where scandalising the court by means of publication and distribution of pamphlets tends to bring the authority of the court into disrespect and offers insult to the Judicial Officer concerned and diminishes his dignity and prestige in the eyes of the people in general and shakes their confidence in the impartial administration of justice by him, such a weapon cannot be left in the hands of the litigants or the members of the public. In the instant case, the opposite party has attributed improper motives to the Magistrate and has actually alleged that he is giving unjust decisions, under the pernicious influence of his Reader, Ahalmad and Court-Inspector in order to wreak his vengeance against the opposite party, inasmuch as he had put questions on the floor of the Assembly and had also made repeated complaints to the Chief Minister; against the District Magistrate and the Judicial Magistrate. Such a conduct might by no means be called detached or fair criticism of judicial acts of the officer concerned, but is obviously inspired and motivated by a sense of gratifying his spleen against the alleged misdeeds and wrong decisions of the Court.

9. The third case is a decision of the High Court of Australia, viz. The Kind v. Nicholls, 1911 Com-W. LR 280 wherein it was observed:

'The statements made concerning a Judge of the High Court do not constitute a contempt of the High Court unless they are calculated to obstruct or interfere with the course of justice, or the due administration of the law. In the High Court.'

The facts giving rise to that case were that on 7-4-1911 there was printed and published ina newspaper called 'The Mercury' an article reading 'Mr. Justice Higgins is, whether believed, what is called a political Judge, that is, he was appointed because he had well served a political party. He, moreover, seems to know his position, and does not mean to allow any reflections on those to whom he may be said to be indebted for his judgeship' Accordingly contempt proceedings were taken against the editor of that paper In the course of the hearing of a case, which was pending before Higgins, J., one of the counsel described the Broken Hill labour organisations as 'the most tyrannical that he had known', and he added 'moreover, they are encouraged by their Union and the Government of this Country.' Whereupon Higgins. J observed:

'I will not allow you to speak in that way of the Government of this Country. I will not allow you to speak in that form of a Government of the country and those above us. If you do not comply with my rules you will leave the Court.'

This led to the publication as referred to above. It was in these circumstances that the High Court of Australia ruled that the act of the editor did not amount to contempt of Court.

10. It may be noted that the article which was in question in Nicholls' case only related to the status of the Judge, and the way he was appointed to that post by political influence. There was no reflection on his judicial competence; nor was it suggested that his political affinity, in any way, interfered with impartial administration of law and justice in his court.

11. At any rate, the concept of this branch of law, i.e. contempt of Court by scandalising court, as modified in England or Australia has no application in India, where the law of the land is the one laid down by the Supreme Court of India.

12. In Aswani Kumar Ghose v. Arabinda Bose : AIR1953SC75 . The Times of India in a leading article wrote as follows regarding the decision of the Supreme Court:

'....... There is a tell tale note at thetop of rules framed by the Supreme Court for enrolment of advocates and agents to the effect that the rules were subject to revision and the judges had under consideration a proposal if the system has outgrown its usefulness and is found incongruous in the new setting of a democratic constitution But to achieve a dubious or even a laudable purpose by straining the law is hardly edifying. Politics and policies have no place in the pure region of the law: and courts of law would serve the country and the constitution better by discarding all extraneous considerations and uncompromisingly observing divine detachment, which is the glory of law and the guarantee of Justice.'

Mahajan, J, delivering the judgment of the court said:

'No objection could have been taken to the article had It merely preached to theCourts of law the sermon of divine detachment. But when it proceeded to attribute improper motives to the Judges, it not only transgressed the limits of fair and 'bona fide' criticism but had a clear tendency to affect the dignity and prestige of this Court. The article in question was thus a gross contempt of Court. It is obvious that if an impression is created in the minds of the public that the Judges in the highest Court in the land act on extraneous considerations in deciding cases, the confidence of the whole community in the administration of justice is bound to be undermined and no greater mischief than that can possibly be imagined .'

Their Lordships also relied upon the decision in the case of Andre Paul v. Attorney General of Trinidad. AIR 1936 PC 141 wherein it was held:

'The path of criticism is a public way; the wrong-headedare permitted to err therein; provided that members of the public abstain from imputing improper motives to those taking part in the administration of justice and are genuinely exercising a right of criticism and not acting in malice or attempting to impair the administration of justice, they are immune.'

13. I have already held above that the pamphlets distributed by the opposite party, who is supposed to be a responsible representative of the people in the legislature, contained not only criticisms of the person and morals of the judicial officer concerned, but out of malice also attributed motives to him for having acted against the opposite party, on considerations other than judicial, in deciding cases on the extraneous advice of the District Magistrate the Reader the Ahalmad and the Court Inspector of his Court. Such an imputation, against the judicial conduct of a court is bound to impair the Image of justice in the minds of the common people with regard to the Judicial Magistrate concerned. Similar view was taken by the Supreme Court of India in M. Y Shareef v. Hon'ble Judges of the Nagpur High Court. : 1955CriLJ133 .

14. Therefore the opposite party stands clearly indicted for the contempt of the court of the Judicial Magistrate. Bindki, Fatehpur. The opposite party has been working as a petition writer and is an M. L. A. since 1962. It is regrettable that a person intimately connected with the courts of law over a number of years and who has been acting as a legislator for good four years, should have chosen to act in the manner that he did. He, however, states that he has a large family to maintain and expresses apology I, therefore, think that the imposition of fine of Rs. 200 on the opposite party shall meet the ends of justice, I order accordingly. He shall pay the same as well as costs amounting to Rs 80 to the petitioner, within a period of one month. He shall also pay Rs. 80 as costs to the Assistant Government Advocate, Shri M. M. Chaturvedi within the same period In case of default of payment of fine, he shall undergo simple imprisonmentfor two weeks. He is further warnedto be more careful in future.


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