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State Vs. S.N. Dikshit - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1973CriLJ1211
AppellantState
RespondentS.N. Dikshit
Cases ReferredYatas v. Lansingh
Excerpt:
- - dutta as well as three others, namely sarvasri k, l. we are also pleased for this fact as well that we have been afforded an opportunity of exposing another big man unfortunately a man from the pious judiciary in the eye of public bodies. firstly, that he had shared something out of the hoarded capital with the bosses, and secondly, that he bad received a handsome sum through one of his touts who was lawyer. section 13 expressly provides that 'no court shall impose a sentence under this act unless it is satisfied that the contempt is of such a nature that it substantially interferes, or tends substantially to interfere with' the due course of justice. there used to be a good deal of controversy on the question as to whether proceedings should be deemed to be pending or not at the.....m.n. shukla, j.1. these proceedings under the contempt of courts act. 1971 (act no. 70 of 1971). hereinafter referred to as the act. were initiated at the instance of the district judge. etawah arising out of an application made by the additional district 'magistrate (judicial) sri ghyasuddin ahmad to the registrar of the high court of judicature at allahabad.2. it is necessary to refer to the background which led to the making of the above reference to this court. the opposite party claims to be the secretary of the electric workers' union. etawah. on september 15. 1970 he brought a complaint against sri n. p. dutta. chief engineer of the western -u. p. electric supply co. ltd. etawah, for offences under sections 341. 504 and 506 of the indian penal code. while that complaint was pending.....
Judgment:

M.N. Shukla, J.

1. These proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act. 1971 (Act No. 70 of 1971). hereinafter referred to as the Act. were initiated at the instance of the District Judge. Etawah arising out of an application made by the Additional District 'Magistrate (Judicial) Sri Ghyasuddin Ahmad to the Registrar of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad.

2. It is necessary to refer to the background which led to the making of the above reference to this Court. The opposite party claims to be the Secretary of the Electric Workers' Union. Etawah. On September 15. 1970 he brought a complaint against Sri N. P. Dutta. Chief Engineer of the Western -U. P. Electric Supply Co. Ltd. Etawah, for offences under Sections 341. 504 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. While that complaint was pending enquiry, he filed another complaint on January 16, 1971 against Sri N. P. Dutta as well as three others, namely Sarvasri K, L. Pahuia Labour Laws Adviser. Krishna Prasad. Managing Director of the said Electric Company and Dalip Chand Chadda. Consultant and Adviser for Industrial Law. This complaint was for offences under Sections 465. 466. 468. 469. 471 and 120B read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

In pursuance of both complaints the statement of the complainant under Section 200. Criminal P, C. was recorded as also the statements of his witnesses Under Section 202, Criminal P. C. The learned Additional District Magistrate passed orders in both cases on 7-4-1971. In the first complaint case he found satisfactory evidence against the Chief .Engineer Sri A. P. Dutta and. therefore, issued orders_ for summoning him as an accused but in the latter case there was, according to him. no evidence to justify summoning of the accused persons and, therefore, he dismissed the complaint.

3. Sri S. N. Dikshit. contemner, did not go up in revision against the order of dismissal of the complaint. On the other hand, he filed a third complaint in the same Court on September 10. 1971 against the same set of four accused persons and on the same facts as formed the subject-matter of the second complaint. Again, the statement of the complainant was recorded under Section 200. Criminal P. C. and that of a single witness in support of the same under Section 202, Criminal P. C. The Additional District Magistrate passed a detailed order on 15-9-1971 holding that there was no satisfactory evidence and also that the complainant had no right to bring a fresh complaint on the same facts and evidence on which a previously instituted complaint had already been dismissed. He also observed that in the circumstances of the case the summoning of the accused would be a gross abuse of the process of the Court. It was this order which seems to have greatly offended the contemner. He addressed a letter dated 16-9-1971 to Sri Mohammad Ghyasuddin. Additional District Magistrate which may be reproduced below:

PersonalEWU/ETW/Gen/77 Place EtawahDated 16-9-1971My dear Mr. Ghiasuddin,We are much pleased with your orders dismissing twice the complaints filed by the undersigned against few big bosses; not because of your unfair actions and procedure calculated to undermine the confidence of the public in the impartial and fair administration of iustice; but because of the fact, that you had already shared something out of hoarded capital with these bosses. Some of their vacillating elements have been constantly declaring in public that you had already received a handsome sum through one of your touts, a lawyer.

We are also pleased for this fact as well that we have been afforded an opportunity of exposing another big man unfortunately a man from the pious judiciary in the eye of public bodies. Moreover, we are also forwarding a copy of this letter along with a detailed complaint to Mr. Justice D. S. Mathur, I. C. S. Hon'ble Administrative Judge of the Allahabad High Court.

Rest assure, Mr. Ghiasuddin, that we would not hesitate in fighting against anyone who might even try to diminish the high traditions of judicial impartiality.

With profound. respect to the chair that you are occupying.

Sincerely yours,

sd/- S N Dikshit

(S. N. Dikshit)

Secretary.

Mr. Ghiasuddin. A. D. M. (J.),

Etawah.

Copy forwarded to Mr. Justice D. S. Mathur, I. C. S.. Administrative Judge Allahabad High Court, Allahabad.

4. Thus, the opposite party made two specific allegations against the Additional District Magistrate; Firstly, that he had shared something out of the hoarded capital with the bosses, and secondly, that he bad received a handsome sum through one of his touts who was lawyer. In short, there was the unequivocal charge of taking bribe, which was levelled by the Contemner against Sri Ghiasuddin. The question, therefore, which arises for determination is as to whether by making the imputation contained in the above quoted letter the opposite party made himself liable for contempt of the Court of the A. D. M. (J).

5. The present case would be governed by the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 which is a more elaborate enactment than the previous Acts and contains many innovations. The Contempt of Courts Act. 1926 (Act XII of 1926) contained only three sections relating to the title and commencement of the Act. the power of superior Courts to punish contempts of Court and the limit of punishment which might be awarded to the contemner. The present Act runs into 24 Sections and by the last section the Contempt of Courts Act. 1952 has been repealed. On important aspect relating to contempt of Courts formerly guidance was mainly derived from the cases decided on the subiect. The new Act. however., contains specific provisions with regard to many such points. It appears that the Legislature in its wisdom has either codified the view which1 crystallised judicial decisions or made rorovision for other problems which were posed in such decisions or which were likely to arise and were not covered by any distinct provision of law.

Thus, for instance. Section 2 of the Act contains a definition of the 'Contempt of Court'. It sub-divides contempt into civil and criminal contempt and provides for the various ways in which contempts of either variety might be committed. Section 13 expressly provides that 'no court shall impose a sentence under this Act unless it is satisfied that the contempt is of such a nature that it substantially interferes, or tends substantially to interfere with' the due course of justice.' Thus, technical contempt is not punishable.

6. What constitutes contempt is no longer left to the vagaries of speculation. The new Act contains a definition of 'contempt of court' and prescribes its essential ingredients. Section 2 of the Act is in these terms:

2. Definition In this Act. unless the context otherwise requires.

(a) 'contempt of court' means civil contempt or criminal contempt;

(b) 'civil contempt' means wilful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a Court or wilful breach of an undertaking given to a Court;

(c) 'criminal contempt' means the publication (whether by words, spoken or written or by signs, or by visible representations, or otherwise) of any matter or by the doing of any other act whatsoever which

(i) scandalises or tends to scandalise or lowers or tends to lower the authority of any Court; or

(ii) prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with, the due course of any judicial proceeding; or

(iii) interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner;

(d) 'High Court' means the High Court for a State or a Union territory, and includes the Court of the judicial. Commissioner in any Union territory,

The gist of the above section is that so far as criminal contempt is concerned, and in the instant case it is only a criminal contempt which is alleged the effect of publication or the doing of any other act must be either to scandalise or tend to scandalise or to lower or tend t lower the authority of any Court or interfere or tend to interfere with the due course of any judicial proceeding or to interfere with or tend to interfere with or obstruct or tend to obstruct the administration of iustice in any manner. Even prior to the statutory definition the crucial point emphasised in judicial decisions was that the action must be tested on the touch-stone of its potentiality for scandalising or lowering the authority of any Court or interfering or tending to interfere with or obstruct the administration of iustice in any manner. Therefore, it is not necessary that the consequences of actually scandalising or lowering the authority of the Court or obstruction or interference with the administration of justice must result. If there is an inherent tendency in the impugned action of leading to such consequences it will come within the mischief of the term 'contempt of court',

7. It is also not correct to say that no contempt can be committed after certain proceedings are over but the fact that the proceedings are pending is a very important circumstance in assessing the impact of a particular action which is attributed to the contemnor. There used to be a good deal of controversy on the question as to whether proceedings should be deemed to be pending or not at the relevant time but this lacuna has been removed by elucidating the term 'pending proceeding' in Section 3 of the present Act. The learned Counsel for the opposite party (contemner) submitted that no proceedings were pending at the time when the offending letter was written and that it had not scandalised the Court of the A. D. M, (J) or lowered his authority or tended to interfere with the due course of judicial proceeding or the .administration of justice in any manner.

Before answering that question we have first to examine whether in view of the guideline provided by Section 3 of the Act the proceedings could be deemed to be pending in the instant case or not. Sri V. C. Misra appearing for the opposite party argued that even the third complaint was dismissed on Sept. 15. 1971 and the letter in question was dated the 16th September. 1971 and hence no proceedings were pending. The contention of the learned Counsel cannot be upheld in view of the provisions of Section 3 of the Act. It provides for innocent publication and distribution of matter not amounting to contempt and it is in that connection that it elaborates the meaning of the term 'pending judicial proceeding'. Sub-section (21 of Section 3 expressly provides that the publication of any such matter as is mentioned in Sub-section (1) in connection with any civil or criminal proceeding which is not pending at the time of publication shall not be deemed to constitute contempt oJ: Court. There was no such provision in the earlier Act. The explanation appended to the section reads as follows :

Explanation For the purposes of the section, a judicial proceeding

(a)is said to be pending

(A) in the case of a civil proceeding when it is instituted by the filing of plaint or otherwise

(B).in the case of a criminal proceeding under the Code of Criminal Procedure. 1898. or any other law

(i) where it relates to the commission-of an offence, when the charge-sheet or challan is filed, or when the Court issues summons or warrant, as the case may be, against the accused and (ii) in any other case when the Court takes cognizance of the matter to which the proceeding relates, and

in the case of a civil or criminal proceeding shall be deemed to continue to be pending until it is heard and finally decided, that is to say. in a case where appeal or revision is competent, until the appeal or revision is heard and finally decided or where no appeal or revision is preferred, until the period of limitation prescribed for such appeal or revision has expired;

(b) which has been heard and finally decided shall not be deemed to be pending merely by reason of the fact that proceedings for execution of the decree, order or sentence passed therein are pending.

8. From a perusal of the above provision it is evident that after a proceeding has ostensibly concluded it shall be notionally pending where an appeal or revision is competent until the appeal or revision is heard and finally decided or where no appeal or revision is preferred. until the period of limitation prescribed for such appeal or revision has expired. The third' complaint of the opposite party had been dismissed on the 15th September, 1971, i.e. only a day before the letter was written. The limitation for filing the revision against the said order was 30 days which had evidently not expired and the opposite party feeling aggrieved by that order could have availed of the remedy. The fact whether he actually resorted to that remedy or not iswholly immaterial. Since the limitation for filing the revision had not expired the proceedings in question must be held to be pending in the court of the A. D. M. (J). The contemner is not entitled to the benefit of Sub-section (2) of Section 3 inasmuch as we have held that the proceeding was pending at the time when the letter was written.

9. The learned Counsel for the opposite party contended that since the complaint in the instant case was instituted by a private individual no question arose of filing a charge sheet and since admittedly neither summons nor warrant was issued to the accused persons, the case did not come within the ambit of clause (B) (i) of the Explanation to Section 3 of the Act. This argument is fallacious. The case is fully covered by clause (B) (ii) of the Explanation. It is precisely in a situation like this where the matter arises on a private complaint and no summons or warrant is issued that this residuary clause will be applicable. It was also contended that even on these facts the icourt could not be deemed to have taken cognizance of the matter until some order was passed by the court against the accused persons. It is only the subsequent events such as issue of summons or warrant etc. which would amount to taking of cognizance of the case and anything done prior to it would not be deemed to be cognizance of the case.

If after recording statements under Section 200. Cr. P. C, summons or warrant is issued, then alone any court is said to have taken cognizance. But this .argument is not borne out by the language of Section 200, Cr.PC It provides that 'a Magistrate taking cognizance of an offence on complaint shall at once examine the complainant and the witnesses. present, if any, upon oath, and the substance of the examination shall be reduced to writing and shall be signed by the complainant and the witnesses and also by the Magistrate ..'. So. even the statement of the complainant and the other witnesses can, be recorded only after a Magistrate has taken cognizance of the offence.

10. The other argument addressed to us at the bar was that the facts of the present case did not satisfy the essential ingredients of contempt and hence the opposite party was entitled to be discharged. In the first place, it was argued that the contemner had not published the letter in question or any defamatory matter. It was averred in the counter-affidavit that he wrote this letter and handed over the same to the A. D. M. (J. 1) in his personal capacity. Since there was no publication of the contents of the letter, it was contended '.that the court had not been scandalised or its authority lowered. The definition of the term 'contempt' in Section 2(c) makes it clear that such contempt may be committed either by publication {whether by words spoken or written or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise1) of anv matter or by the doing of any other act which leads to any of the consequences contemplated in sub-clauses (i) (ii) and (Hi) of Sub-section (c) of Section 2. Hence, even though a letter may have been delivered in private capacity to a Magistrate, it may still lead to the consequences which are regarded as the essence of criminal contempt. As we have already observed, .its tendency to scandalise or lower the authority or interfere with the due course of any judicial proceeding is the crucial test. Reactions to such letters or representations are bound to vary with indivi-duals.

Nevertheless, it is not unlikely that a Magistrate or a Judge may feel greatly scared and demoralised by such serious allegations and this may interfere with the fearless and conscientious discharge of his duties. It is. therefore, a salutary principle enshrined in the law of contempt of court that no person should be allowed to do any act which has the effect of leading to any such consequences. In such circumstances the absence of publication is wholly immaterial,

11. In the second place, it was argued that the opposite party was entitled to the protection of Section 6 of the Act which .provides that complaint against the presiding officers of subordinate courts are in certain circumstances not contempt. In the counter-affidavit it was averred that the contemner forwarded a copy of his letter along with the complaint to the Administrative Judge of the High Court. It is true that in view of this new provision added in Section 6 of the Act of 1971 the making of a statement concerning a presiding officer of a subordinate court is protected but the condition precedent is that such statement must have been made 'in good faith'. The term 'good faith' has not been defined in the Contempt of Courts Act but the accepted connotation of this phrase is the one which is countenanced by the definition contained in Section 52. I.P.C. which says:

Nothing is said to be done or believed in 'good faith' which is done or believed without due care and attention.

The only tangible test which can be applied for judging the good faith of ,q person in doing a certain act is as to whether he acted with due care and attention. It is surely not open to a person to take precipitate action only on vague information received by him, from irresponsible sources and without verifying the same diligently. The allegations made in the letter are very flagrant. It not only condemns the A. D. M. (J) by characterizing him as colluding with big bosses and sharing the hoarded capital with them but further accused him of having accepted a handsome sum through a tout lawyer. No details or particulars of any such alleged transaction have been mentioned nor has any such tout lawyer been nominated. Even the counter-affidavit does not add to our information on these salient points. The contemner has not placed before us any data from which it may be possible for us to draw an inference that he had verified these allegations in any manner. We would refer to Annexure I of the counter-affidavit which is a copy of the complaint itself by Sri S. N, Dikshit to the Administrative Judge. It was stated therein:

There are also rumors and feelings within the workers of this union that Mr. Ghiyasuddin had also accepted some illegal gratifications from these big persons.

Thus the allegations contained in the letter dated 16-9-1971 appear to have been based only on rumours and feelings and not on any verified and precise material. It was also pointed out to us that these allegations had not been specifically denied by the A.D.M. U). There is no substance in this argument. In the very opening part of the reference made to this Court the A.D.M. (J) said that 'it would appear from this letter that it contains a most absurd, false and frivolous allegation against me and also against the court of the Additional District Magistrate (Judicial). Etawah. These allegations have been made by him on account of the passing of an order in a complaint case brought by him whereby the said complaint was dismissed under Section 203. Cr.PC' Thus, there was a clear denial of these allegations and in the circumstances pointed out before us we are unable to hold that the contemnor made the statement contained in the aforesaid letter in good faith about the presiding officer of the court of A.D.M. (J).

12. It was also submitted that the contents of the letter at the most amounted to libel against the officer concerned, which was an offence under the Indian Penal Code. The officer concerned, therefore, could seek his appropriate remedy against Sri Dikshit but the latter was not liable for punishment under the Contempt of Courts Act, This contention is untenable. A distinct remedy may be available to a person who has been defamed or against whom a complaint has been made but if the same action does constitute contempt the person responsible for such action is liable to be punished under the provisions of Contempt of Courts Act. The two remedies are not naturally (mutually ?) exclusive. In Ramkrishna Reddy v. State of Madras : 1952CriLJ832 it was observed:

A libellous reflection upon the conduct of a Judge in respect of his judicial duties may certainly come under Section 499. Penal Code and it may be open to the Judge to take steps against the libeller in the ordinary way for vindication of his character and personal dignity as a Judge, but such libel may or may not amount to contempt of Court which is something more than mere defamation and is of a different character. What is made punishable in the Indian Penal Code is the offence of defamation as defamation and not as contempt of Court. If the defamation of a subordinate court amounts to contempt of Court, proceedings can certainly be taken under Section 2. Contempt of Courts Act. quite apart from the fact that other remedy may be open to the aggrieved officer under Section 499. Penal Code.

Following the same principle Tek Chand. J. observed in State v. Radha Krishna that the fact that the defamation of a Judge of a Subordinate Court constitutes an offence under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code does not oust the jurisdiction of the High Couft to take cognizance of the act as a contempt of court.

13. Lastly, it was submitted by the learned Counsel that the contemner had tendered an unqualified apology by stating in paragraph 14 of the counter-affidavit as under:

That lastly the deponent states that he has profound respect and honour in the courts of law as well as rule of law and he esteems high of that and if this Hon'ble High Court finds that by any of his acts mentioned in para 4 of this affidavit, he is guilty of contempt, he tenders unqualified apologies for the same and expresses regret.' It is manifestly a conditional apology and but for the Explanation added to Section 12 of the new Act it could have been rejected. The Explanation provides :An apology shall not be rejected merely on the ground that it is qualified or conditional if the accused makes it bona fides.

We have no reason to doubt that by the. Abovementioned apology the contemner has expressed regret for his action in writing the letter. The apology was not belated and was made at the very outset. If it had come at a belated stage, our impression might have been that it was merely a ruse to escape punishment and we could have discarded the same as not being bona fide. But in the present case we are not inclined to reject this apology as lacking in bona fides. But merely accepting the apology does not necessarily purge a contemner of the contempt of court which he has committed. The submission of the learned Counsel for the contemner was that after accepting the apology it was not open to the court in view of the provisions of Section 12 of the present Act to still award punishment to the contemner. This contention is not well-founded. The answer to this question would depend on the interpretation of the proviso to Section 12 which says :

Provided that the accused may be discharged or the punishment awarded may be remitted on apology being made to the satisfaction of the court.

14. The proviso clearly envisages both situations, namely the discharge of the contemner or the remission of his punishment. The word 'remit' has two connotations. It may either mean complete pardon or merely mitigating the sentence. According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary Volume II the various meanings assigned to the word 'remit' are 'to forgive or pardon, to abstain from exacting, to slacken or abate. to mitigate, diminish or abate.' According to Webster's New International Dictionary the word 'remit' connotes 'to release wholly, to bate in force or intensity.' Thus, a discretion is left to the court even after accepting an apology either to refrain from awarding any punishment to the contemner or to award him lenient punishment. It is not for nothing that the Legislature has used both expressions in the proviso. If the intention of the Legislature was otherwise, it could have added in the proviso some such terms as 'provided that the accused shall be discharged on an apology being made to the satisfaction of the court.'

This shows that the Legislature intended to retain that discretion in the court. The rationale of such provision is clear, depending as it does on the gravity of the contempt committed by a person. If the contempt is of a minor nature his unconditional apology may in the opinion of the court be sufficient to purge him of his contempt. If, on the other hand, the contempt is of a grave nature, mere acceptance of apology may not be adequate to meet the ends of justice; it may not purge the contemner. In that case there is nothing to preclude the court from warding punishment. The learned counsel for the contemner is not right in submitting that the acceptance of an apology per se makes it obligatory on the court to discharge the contemner The only bar imposed on the power of the court in the matter of accepting an apology vide explanation to Section 12 ef the Act is that an apology cannot be rejected on the ground that it is conditional.

Prior to this provision even where en apology was tendered at the earliest opportunity the courts frequently rejected the same on the ground that it was not unequivocal or was conditional. That power of the court has now been taken away by the explanation. But the court is not bound even under the new provision to accept a conditional apology in all circumstances. Thus, for instance, if it is belated and is offered at a stage when the contemner finds that the trend of the court is to convict or punish him it may still be discarded on the ground that it is not bona fide. The explanation or the language of Section 12 of the Act. in our opinion, does not touch the power of the court to award punishment even after accepting an apology. A bona fide apology surely must be taken into consideration in mitigating a sentence but it does not purge the contemner. He cannot claim to be discharged as a matter of right. .

15. We are fortified in the interpretation that we are putting on the proviso to Section 12 a catena of judicial decisions. It may be noted that the language of this proviso has not undergone any change. The legislative history of the Contempt of Courts Act reveals that the proviso occurred in the previous enactments as well in identical language. Section 4 of the Contempt of Courts Act. 1952 was hedged in by two provisos. The second proviso has been deleted in the new Act but the first has been retained in Section 12. The first proviso to Section 4 of the 1952 Act was in these terms:

Provided that the accused may be discharged or the punishment awarded mav be remitted on apology being made to the satisfaction of the Court.' The Contempt of Courts Act. 1926 contained the same language embodied in the first proviso to Section 3 which read as follows:Provided that the accused may be discharged or the punishment awarded may be remitted on apology being made to the satisfaction of the Court.

The abovementioned provisos occurring in the previous Acts came up for interpretation in a large number of cases and the consensus of the opinion expressed therein is that even after accepting an apology the court has jurisdiction to award punishment. In Lal Behari v. State : AIR1953All153 a Division Bench of this Court held that an apology did not entitle to contemner to discharge as a matter of right, and even after accepting the apology the court could levy a fine On or award imprisonment to the accused. In Emperor v. P. C. Tarapore AIR 1940 Sind 239 : (1941) 42 Cri LJ 1 in a Full Bench case Davis C. J. laid down that it does not follow that because an apology is offered the Court must accept it and is dismissed. A court can refuse to accept an apology which it does not believe to be genuine; it can even when it accepts the apology, commit an offender to prison or otherwise punish him. In an earlier decision of this Court in The State v. Krishna Madho : AIR1952All56 it was held by a Division Bench that even if the Court accepted an apology it may still inflict punishment upon an accused person.

The same principle was laid down in Addl, Sessions Judge Hardoi v Banwari Lal AIR 1948 Oudh 114 : (1948) 49 Cri LJ 108 where it was held that 'an apology', though it often mitigates the offence, does not entitle the offender to a discharge as a matter of right and where the contempt is of a grave character in that he addressed a private communication to the Judge in order to influence him in the decision of the case pending before him. in the interest of administration of justice the gravity of the offence requires that he should be punished, in spite of his unqualified apology (Offender was sentenced to suffer a fine of Rs. 100/- and pay Rs. 120/- as costs to the Government Advocate, or in default of payment of fine within two weeks to undergo one month's simple imprisonment). Thus, even though an apology was accepted the sentence was awarded to the con-temner. In Railway Magistrate v. Rajjan Lal AIR 1952 Madh Bha 176 the facts were that a person called at the residence of the Magistrate and asked him to release the accused on bail if he (the Magistrate) desired that he should not be humiliated. It was held that the act of the accused person was most reprehensible. Although he had tendered an unqualified apology which had been accepted it was observed :

Where the contempt is of a grave character, in the interest of administration of justice it is but proper that he should be punished in spite of his unqualified apology.

The contemner was fined Rs. 100/- and also made to pay Rs. 50/- as costs to the Government Advocate. In Babulal Shukla v. Shivpratapsingh : AIR1957MP152 the apology was not held sufficient to purge the contempt but the sentence was mitigated. It was observed :

An apology is not always considered as a remedy for the mischief caused by the publication of objectionable matter but it is taken into account in considering steps to be taken and the punishment to be awarded to the person accused of having committed contempt of court. It is also considered as an extenuating circumstance....

It was further observed:

The question to be determined in each case is whether the Court should accept the apology and hold it sufficient to purge the contempt and let off the opponent. In considering this aspect the past conduct of the person accused of having committed contempt and the nature of the impugned publication must be taken into account.

It was held in Narain Singh v. S Hardayal Singh as follows:

In a case of gravity where the respondent has been persistently contumacious, apology is not enough and he should not go unpunished. But in view of the unqualified apology submitted by him. some leniency may be shown in the matter of punishment.

16. In State of Hyderabad v. C. Nataraian. AIR 1954 Hyd 180 : 1954 Cri LJ 1300 (D.B.) in a communication addressed to the Chief Justice of Hyderabad by the contemner. an advocate of 22 years standing, allegations were made to the effect that he was an outsider, a job hunter, a dictator an autocrat and 'a Jaffery of Irish fame' and further his behaviour and attitude were contrasted with the ex-Chief Justice of Hyderabad and the Chief Justice of another High Court, and the copies of the communications were addressed to Prime Minister of India, Home Minister. Government of India. Rajpramukh Hyderabad and Chairman. Anti-Corruption Committee. It was held that the communication was scurrilous and extremely offensive and that it amounted to gross contempt of court. The contemner had submitted an unconditional and unreserved apology and the Judges were particularly impressed by the fact that when his counsel was trying to address the Court on certain aspects of the case, he stopped him and instructed him to leave it to the mercy of the Court. Still he was punished, though it was considered sufficient to impose on him a fine of Rs. 50/- only.

17. It is our considered opinion that in the instant case the contemner has committed grave contempt. He scandalised the court of the Additional District Magistrate (Judicial) and made .scurrilous attacks on him. Proceedings in contempt are meant to keen untarnished the seat of justice. and free from attack on its integrity and impartiality or from influences that tend to interfere with the administration of justice. Where the integrity of a presiding officer is attacked the authority and dignity of the court are jeopardised. The letter written by the contemner was a clear imputation against the integrity of the A.D.M. (J) and the contemner cannot purge the contempt by mere apology though we shall take note of the apology for the purpose of mitigat-iug the sentence to be imposed on him. In our opinion where the allegations of bribe taking has been recklessly made by a person against the presiding officer of the court and attack is made on his motive while discharging his judicial duties the contemner should not escape scot-free. As observed in ex parte Whitmore. 35 P 524 (529) : 17 CJS 133:

The law punishes the contemner out of no personal consideration for the Judge. The punishment is not meted out as a 'balm to hurtmind'. Nor is there in the law aught of malice against him who is punished. The power is exercised by the Court as a representative in this respect of the people the ultimate sovereignsand in their interest and for their good. The maintenance of the authority of the judiciary is indispensable to the stability of the Government.

An apology in a case of contempt such as the one we have before us cannot have the effect of taking the sting out of the contempt. We have to bear in mind the greater interest of the judiciary and the public, not so much the personal affront to the Additional District Magistrate (Judicial) offered by the contemner but the public wrong that a contempt of this nature involves. It is our duty to see that such attempts are suppressed in the interest of the Judiciary. In this connection we are tempted to echo the pregnant words of Kent C. J. in Yatas v. Lansingh, (1809) 5 Johnsons' Reports 282:

We subdue their importance and destroy their authority. Instead of being venerable before the public, they become contemptible; and we thereby embolden the licentious to trample upon everything sacred in society and overthrow those institutions which have hitherto been deemed the best guardian of civil liberty.

18. For the reasons given above we find Sri S. N, Dikshit guilty of contempt of court and order him to nay a fine of Rs. 100/- within one month of the date of this order or in default to undergo one month's simple imprisonment. He will also be liable to pay Rs. 100/- as costs to Sri Sushil Kumar, Advocate who appeared for the State.


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