S.N. Katju, J.
1. Notices were issued to Kamla Ram Advocate, Vidya Sagar Nautiyal, Maya Ram Ratauri, Udel, a communist M.L.A. of Banaras, Yogendra Sharma, editor, Janyug, New Delhi, Kamesh Sinha, Publisher, Janyug, New Delhi and Radha Krishna Kukreti Editor.'Naya Zamana, Dehradun to show cause why they should not be punished for contempt of Court.
2. Two criminal cases, Nos. 241 of 1967 and 246 of 1967, against V.K. Agarwal, clerk of the Assistant Engineer, P. W. D.. Uttar, Kashi, under Section 8(7) of the Essential Commodities Act and under Section 465, Penal Code were registered on 21-9-67 and 25.9.67. The charge sheets were issued by the Investigating Officer on 10-10-67, in both the eases, and they have been pending in the Court of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate Bhatwari, district Uttar Kashi since 25.10-67 and 6.11.67 respectively. The aforesaid cases had been registered on the reports made by Kamla Ram Nautiyal, Secretary of the Communist Party of Uttar Kashi.
It was alleged by V. K. Agarwal that Kamla Bam Nautiyal had delivered speeches in Hanuman Chowk, Uttar Kashi on 80.a.67, 23-10-67, 5-11.67 and 20-11-67. He gave extracts from the aforesaid speeches delivered by Kamla. Bam Nautiyal and contended that they contained matter which amounted to contempt of Court. A notice was issued on behalf of the District Communist Party of Uttar Kashi in which a reference was made to the aforesaid oases. ' The date of the publication of the aforesaid notice is not clear from the record. The 'Naya Zamana' dated 7.10-67 carried the report of a speech delivered by K. R. Nautiyal in which reference was made to the aforesaid cases. Again on 5-11-67 the 'Jan-Yug' published an article by opposite party Vidya Sagar Nautiyal which made reference to the aforesaid cases.
3. It is not possible for me to place reliance on the extracts of speeches which were said to have been delivered by K.B. Nautiyal on the aforesaid dates as mentioned by the complainant V, K. Agarwal, There is nothing on the record to show that the aforesaid extracts are true and they were part of the speeches which were in fact delivered by K. B. Nautiyal. It was however admitted by the learned Counsel for the opposite parties that the impugned matter which appeared in the 'Naya Zamana' and the 'Jan Yug' was correct and it was not denied that it contained matters which were spoken or written by the opposite parties concerned.
4. Learned Counsel for the opposite parties 'contended that any objectionable reference to proceedings which did not travel beyond the range of administrative inquiry could not be said to constitute contempt of Court. He relied on a Division Bench decision of this Court in Dwarka Prasad v. Krishna Chandra AIR 1958 All 600 in which it was observed:
We are of the opinion that contempt proceedings cannot be taken in connection with the publication of news or articles as long as criminal case is during the course of investigation and has not actually come to the Magistrate's Court for enquiry or trial.
It further observed:
The procedure in England being different from that in India, we find ourselves unable to follow the decision in the above-noted English case and to hold that proceedings in Court start, as soon as a warrant has been issued or an arrest made.
It was conceded by the learned Counsel for the State that the two cases were pending in the Court of the learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate from 25.10-67 and 6-11-67. It would follow that what was published in the Naya Zamana on 7-10-67 could not form the subject-matter of contempt of Court.
5. The same, however, could not be said about the article of Vidya Sagar Nautiyal Which appeared in 'Janyug' dated 5.11.67. In the aforesaid article it was said (translation is mine):
Some forged ration cards were recovered from the possession of Virendra Kumar, a clerk in the office of the Asstt. Engineer, P. W. D. by the workers of the Communist Party which Virendra Kumar had made in the names of the gaugmen and labourers. The aforesaid case was registered as a police case. The Party (the Communist Party) asked the local officials that Virendra Kumar should be immediately suspended and he should be prosecuted, The District Magistrate said that the Government could not do anything in the matter. There was a public meeting on 80th September in which a demand was made for the prosecution of Virendra Kumar.
Learned counsel for the opposite parties contended that Vidya Sagar Nautiyal had only said in the impugned article that Virendra Kumar should be suspended and he should be prosecuted. He had protested against the action of the District Magistrate in dropping the proceedings against Virendra Kumar. I do not agree with the interpretation as put by the learned Counsel. It was clearly said in the impugned article that the ration cards which had been recovered from the possession of Virendra Kumar were forged. The clear indication was that Virendra. Kumar was guilty and a demand had been made that he should be suspended and prosecuted. I have no hesitation in holding that the aforesaid imputation clearly amounted to contempt of Court. The opposite parties and the members of their party had come to the conclusion that Virendra Kumar was guilty. They had given a verdict that the ration cards which had been recovered from his possession were forged, If the decision of the members of the Communist Party was to be treated as final in the matter, then there was hardly any occasion for adjudication by a Court of law.
It is a salient principle of law that an accused person has to be presumed innocent until he is declared guilty by a Court of law. It is not open to any one to pronounce the guilt of an accused person in advance. If that is done in any spoken or written comment it would clearly amount to interference in the course of justice and amount to prejudicing the mind of the Court against the accused. It cannot be denied that the impugned article of Vidya Sagar Nautiyal amounted to contempt of Court.
6. Learned Counsel further contended that Yogendra Sharma and Bamesh Sinha who were the editor and publisher respectively of the 'Jan Yug' could riot be said to be guilty because they had no knowledge that the impugned. comment referred to pending cases. It was clear from the published article that it referred to a case which had been registered and in which a prosecution could be imminent, if the editor and the publisher allowed the publication of the impugned article in their paper they are equally guilty of contempt of Court. The opposite parties Vidya Sagar Nautiyal, who wrote the impugned article which was published in the issue of 'Jan Yug' dated 5-11-67, Yogendra Sharma, editor and Bameah Sinha, the publisher of the 'Jan Yug' are clearly guilty of contempt of Court.
7. Vidya Sagar Nautiyal has filed an affidavit in which he has tendered his unqualified apology to this Court and has thrown himself at its mercy. Sri M.A. Ansari learned Counsel has offered unqualified apologies on behalf, of Yogendra Sharma and Bamesh Sinha and has thrown them also at the mercy of the Court. As mentioned above, the opposite parties are members of the Communist Party of India. This Court is not concerned with the political labels of individuals. It has to see that the stream of justice is kept unsullied and is allowed to flow without interruption. A citizen of India who comes before a Court of law is entitled to get justice which is ensured to. him by the Constitution of the country. The Court has to see that justice is dispensed with without any obstruction or interference. If any one, irrespective of the fact to which party or political label he may belong to, acts in a way which results in obstruction and interference of the course of justice, then the Court would have no hesitation in curbing such misdemeanour and punishing the offender.
The opposite parties have been working, according to their own notions, in political field and were prompted to act in the way they did by their ideas of service to the people. The Court has no concern with the political affiliations of the opposite parties. I, however, accept the plea of the opposite parties that they did not mean to cast any disrespect to the Court. Obviously the opposite parties have acted beyond the limits permissible to them by law and have put themselves in a perilous situation. Some of the opposite parties live in Tehri and Uttar Kashi which are in the midst of the Himalayas and near the borders of India. Learned Counsel for the opposite parties stated that they have been sufficiently punished in having been compelled to come to Allahabad repeatedly at considerable expense and inconvenience to them. Considering the circumstances I accept the apologies tendered by them and discharge the notices issued to them.
8. Since the opposite parties are political workers and are not possessed of sufficient means, I make no order as to costs.