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State of U.P. Vs. Deg Raj Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1983CriLJ866
AppellantState of U.P.
RespondentDeg Raj Singh and ors.
Cases ReferredState v. Ashok Kumar
Excerpt:
.....facie the act complained of amounted to an offence under section 228 i, p. their assertions that surendra singh and ramesh singh were arrested on the kalpi road and not inside the court-room could not be successfully rebutted by the affidavit of the chief judicial magistrate and under such circumstances the contemners well deserve benefit of reasonable doubt. ilr 45 cal if 10. (sic) 28. in cases like the present where the contempt does not occur in th* presence and hearing of the court, it has to be brought to the attention of the court by affidavits or sworn statements of facts by persons who witnessed them and having knowledge of them. 31. the procedure adopted by us is perfectly in. they were well within their rights to arrest the absconders without permission of the magistrate. the..........learned magistrate in the preliminary enquiry had the affidavits of sarvasri sheo ram, govind singh, surendra singh and ram dutt doholiya, clerk of sri anand swarup yadav, advocate vide papers nos. 10 ka, 11 ka, 17 ka and 18 ka dated 31-7-1980 statement of sri hari shanker khare, reader, sri ranvir singh, assistant prosecuting officer, orai attached to his court, sri anand prakash, court constable and sri udai narain srivastava and sri raja ram chaturvedi, advocates, orai were recorded on oath vide papers nos. l2ka to 14ka, 15ka and 19ka. the contemners were notified and served to show cause against the reference. except sri amar singh bhadoria, remaining contemners were sent up to this court. after protracted proceedings contemners appeared in this court and were required to meet.....
Judgment:

N.N. Sharma, J.

1. These proceedings were initiated against the contemners on the reference made by Sri S.P Srivastava, learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, jalaun at Oral dated 25-9-1980.

2. It appears that on 28th July, 1980 the said Magistrate was recording statement of PW 1 Sri Girja Shankar Misra in Criminal Case No. 574 of 1980, State v. Ashok Kumar, under Section 354 of the T. P. C, in his court room at about 0.15 p.m., his attention was attracted by some police personnel who intruded in the dock of his court room and he found two accused being dragged from the dock forcibly out of the court room. He was informed that the two persons in the dock had arrived there to surrender in court in State v. Narendra Singh and Ors. under Section 302 of the I.P.C. of police station Kotwali, district Oral. The Magistrate on query learnt from the clerk of Sri Anand Swarup Yadav, a practising advocate of his court that the two dragged out per-sons were Surendra Singh and Ramesh Singh who were there in the dock for surrender in connection with their surrender application paper No. 3 ka of Misc. Case No. 265 of 1980 dated 28-7-1980. However, they could not be taken into custody by the Magistrate under Section 167-A of the Cr. P.C. as they had already been carried away by the intruders. The names of the intruders given in application paper No. 6 Ka were Sarva Sri Degraj Singh, S.H. O. Kotwali, Sub-Inspector Sri Aslam, Sri Yagyadatt Pai, Sub-Inspector, M, K. Khan, Sub-Inspector, Virendra Singh, Sub-Inspector and Gufran, Constable. This application was ordered to be placed on the file by the learned Magistrate under his order dated 28-7-1980. The shoes and chappals lying near the dock allegedly belonging to two accused were collected and sealed on the application of their advocate paper No. 5 Ka at the same time. Surrender application paper No. 3Ka became infructuous as the accused had already been carried away. By a subsequent application dated 29-7-1980 names of all the persons who had dragged away the two accused from the dock were supplied by their advocate. The number increased to nine. The names of Sarvasri Sheo Mangal, Jai Prakash Sachan and Amat Singh Bhadoria, constable were added vide application paper No, 7 Ka. A miscellaneous case was registered against them. The names of their associates eleven in number could not be disclosed us their identity was unknown to applicants. Learned Magistrate in the preliminary enquiry had the affidavits of Sarvasri Sheo Ram, Govind Singh, Surendra Singh and Ram Dutt Doholiya, clerk of Sri Anand Swarup Yadav, Advocate vide papers Nos. 10 Ka, 11 Ka, 17 Ka and 18 Ka dated 31-7-1980 statement of Sri Hari Shanker Khare, reader, Sri Ranvir Singh, Assistant Prosecuting Officer, Orai attached to his court, Sri Anand Prakash, court constable and Sri Udai Narain Srivastava and Sri Raja Ram Chaturvedi, Advocates, Orai were recorded on oath vide papers Nos. l2Ka to 14Ka, 15Ka and 19Ka. The contemners were notified and served to show cause against the reference. Except Sri Amar Singh Bhadoria, remaining contemners were sent up to this Court. After protracted proceedings contemners appeared in this Court and were required to meet the charge drawn on 21-12-1981. In defence contemners filed their counter-affidavits traversing the aforesaid allegations and also explaining the GD entry relating to the apprehension of Surendra Singh and Ramesh Singh on that noon; copy of that GD entry is annexure C8 showing the arrest of the accused Ramesh Singh and Surendra Singh by Sarvasri Degraj Singh, Yagyadatt Rai, Shyam Babu, constables Balram Singh, Raghunandan Singh, Ram Bahadur and Vishram Singh.

3. Sarvasri Mohd. Aslam, Shankei Dayal Tripathi, Virendra Singh, Jai Prakash Sachan, Sheo Mangal Singh, Ram Bahadur and Gufran filed counter-affidavits denying their participation in the occurrence and put forward their plea of alibi. Rejoinder affidavits have been filed by Sri S.P. Srivastava. However, in view of the allegations on record and the nature of evidence before us we accept their affidavits and extend benefit of reasonable doubt to these contemners and discharge the notices issued to them.

4. Cases of Sarvsri Degraj Singh and Yagya Dutt Rai stand on a different footing. These contemners filed their counter-affidavits which are on record. Affidavit of Degraj Singh is dated 31-1-1982 and affidavit of Sri Yagyadutt, Rai is dated 10-11-1981, both these contemners have put forward a similar defence. A perusal of their affidavits goes to disclose that Surendra Singh and Ramesh Singh were hardened criminals and absconders and so they had been arrested by them on that noon but in different circumstances. They also maintained that surrender application was filed subsequent to their arrest in the court of learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Orai although such incident never took place in his court room on that date. They alleged their ill will with both the accused and maintained that their nomination by the witnesses in this case was false.

5. Sri Yagyadatt Rai in para 10 of his affidavit alleged that on 28-7-1980 he was summoned from Kotwali by the Station House Officer. He left Kotwali at 11-55 a.m. and reached the court compound at about 12-20 p.m. He was going round the court compound to contact the Station House Officer when he saw some police personnel chasing the contemners(?) on Kalpi Road. The deponent also reached there and did not enter the court room of learned Chief Judicial Magistrate on that date. He further maintained that both the accused could be lawfully arrested by them at any place including the court room.

6. In para 17 of his affidavit he further offered unomalified apology in the matter.

7. In his affidavit dated 31-1-1982 Sri Degraj Singh, S.H.O. in para 13 alleged that on that noon at about 0.15 p.m. he reached the court compound and learnt about Rang Musalman and Dinesh Pandit, close associates of Surendra Singh and Ramesh Singh being present in the court room of learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jalaun. He wanted to gather information about the whereabouts of Surendra Singh and Ramesh Singh from them and so he procured presence of Rafiq Musalman and Dinesh Pandit by sending constables inside the court room. While he was interrogating them he saw Surendra Singh and Ramesh Singh running from the gallery of the court towards Kalpi Road. The deponent along with nolice force chased them and apprehended them on the Kalpi Road near the Power House in presence of Devendra Singh, Advocate and Devendra Kumar Vaid, Advocate.

8. In para 16 of his affidavit he alleged that the surrender application was got prepared and given to the reader simultaneously or after their arrest in a preplanned manner.

9. In para 24 of his affidavit he tendered an unqualified apology and promised to uphold the dignity and majesty of the court in future.

10. He also filed copies of two reports (First Information Report along with his affidavit) to show that both the accused were bad characters and so their arrest was justifiable.

11. Sri S.P. Srivastava, learned Chief Judicial Magistrate filed his rejoinder affidavits to traverse these allegations and to show that the incident actually took place in his court room and not outside. He further explained the circumstances and the procedure adopted by him through which he learnt the names of contemners on that noon and subsequently.

12. We have carefully perused the entire record and heard learned Counsel for the parties.

13. On behalf of the contemners it was argued before us that these proceedings are barred by proviso appended to Section 10 of Contempt of Courts Art, 1971 (Act No. 70 of 1971). Section 10 reads as below:

10. Power of High Court to punish contempts of subordinate courts - Every High Court shall have and exercise the same jurisdiction, powers and authority, in accordance with the same procedure and practice, in respect of contempts of courts subordinate to it as it has and exercises in respect of contempts of itself.

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

It appears that this question came up for consideration before the Supreme Court in State of Madhya Pradesh v. Revashanker reported in : 1959CriLJ251 . In that case one Ganga Ram stated to be the landlord of respondent Revashanker, instituted suit No. 1383 of 1952 in the Court of Additional City Civil Judge, Indore for ejectment and arrears of rent against Revashanker. In connection with that suit Smt. Chandra Mukhi Bai, wife of Ganga Ram filed an application for permission to prosecute her husband for forgery as Smt, Chandra Mukhi Bai had not signed the plaint or the vakalatnama, although her signatures were forged on the said documents. Another application was filed by certain other persons said to be other tenants of Ganga Ram in which some allegations were made against Revashanker. On 29-6-1953, Revashanker filed a complaint against five persons for an alleged offence under Section 500, I.P.C. This complaint was verified on July 13, 1953. and was registered as Criminal Case No. 637 of 1953 in the Court of one Mr. N. K. Acharya, Additional District Magistrate, Indore. In the meantime a criminal case was started against Revashanker in the court of the Additional City Magistrate. Circle No, 2, for an alleged offence under Section 497, Indian Penal Code. That case was started on the complaint of Ganga Ram, It was numbered as 644 of 1953. On 17-12-1953 Revashanker filed an application in the court of Additional District Magistrate who was in seizin of Criminal Case No, 637 of 1953. In that application some serious aspersions were made against the Magistrate Sri N. K. Acharya. It was alleged that Sri N. K. Acharya wanted to favour Sri U.S. Chaturvedi, Advocate of Sri Ganga Ram. The second aspersion was that Revashanker asserted that he was sure that he would not Ret impartial and legal justice from the Magistrate and the third aspersion was that the Magistrate had a hand in a conspiracy hatched by Messrs. Mohan Singh and Uma Shanker Chaturvedi regarding Certain ornaments of Chandra Mukhi Bai with the object of involving, Reva Shanker, and his brother Sushil Kumar in a false case of theft of ornaments and the fourth aspersion was that Sri Uma Shanker Chaturvedi had declared that he had paid Rs. 500/- to the Magistrate through Ganga Ram. On Jan. 11, 1954, the learned Magistrate reported the aforesaid facts to the Registrar of the Madhya Bharat, High Court and prayed for necessary action against Revashanker for contempt of Court, Before the High Court a similar plea was raised and upheld.

The law on this point was explained by Hon'ble Court in the following terms at page 105:

The question to be considered in this case is whether the act complained of is punishable as contempt under any one of the specific provisions of the I.P.C. In other words whether it falls under any one of the Sections 175, 178, 179, 180 or 228 of the I.P.C.

If the act complained of constitutes an offence under any of these sections, it can be dealt with by the subordinate court itself under Section 480 of the Cr. P.C. and the High Court will have no power to take cognizance of it under the Contempt of Courts Act.

(5) We are of the opinion that the learned Judges were wrong in their view that prima facie the act complained of amounted to an offence under Section 228 I, P. C., and no more. We are advisedly saying prima facie, because the High Court did not go into the merits and we have no desire to make any final pronouncement at this stage on the merits of the case. Section 228, I.P.C., is in these terms:

Whoever intentionally offers any insult, or causes any interruption to any public servant, while such public servanting sitting in any stage of a judicial proceedings shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.The essential ingredients of the offence are (1) intention, (2) insult or interruption to a public servant and (3) the public servant insulted or interrupted must be sitting in any stage of a judicial proceeding .... (9) Taking the aspersions made by the respondent in the application dated Dec. 17, 1953 and the affidavit dated Dec. 21, 1953 at their face value, we have already expressed the view that they amounted to something more than a mere intentional, personal insult to the Magistrate; they scandalised the court itself and impaired the administration of justice. In that view of the matter Section 3(2) of the Act did not stand in the way and the learned Judges of the High Court were wrong in their view that the jurisdiction of the High Court was ousted.

14. Sri J.S. Sengar, learned Advocate for the contemners argued before us that the alleged act exposed the contemners to the penalty laid by Section 228 of I.P.C. Section 228 of I.P.C. punishes contempt of court and so these proceedings could not have been laid before this Court.

15. It is not possible to accept this contention. Even a casual look at Section 228 of I.P.C. shows that it deals with an intentional insult or interruption to a public servant sitting in judicial proceedings. In their affidavits both these contemners alleged that they had no intention to offer any insult to learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Oral through that incident.

16. In order to render accused liable under Section 228 of the I.P.C. it is not merely necessary that the judicial officer felt insulted but whether any insult was intended. Section 228 aforesaid makes it quite clear that the insult or interruption must be intentional. It is not enough that the work of the court was in fact interrupted.

17. In the instant case both the contemners had nothing to do with case No. 574 of 1980 State v. Ashok Kumar, under Section 354 of the I.P.C. Proceeding in that court on that noon; they or any of their associates did not address the Chief Judicial Magistrate. The intention of the contemners was not to insult or interrupt the Chief Judicial Magistrate who was engaged in recording the statements of PW 1, Sri Girja Shanker Misra. The contemners had simply gone there with the sole intention to arrest Surendra Singh and Ramesh Singh who were sitting in the dock awaiting the orders on their surrender application paper No. 3-Ka which was pending disposal. It is a different matter that on account of the dragging of the two accused the attention of Magistrate might have been attracted towards this unruly mob. Since the act was not covered by Section 228 of I.P.C. so the jurisdiction of this Court has not been ousted.

18. Sri J.S. Sengar, learned Advocate for the contemners next argued that there was paucity of evidence in the matter, Sri S.P. Srivastava, learned Chief Judicial Magistrate did not personally know the contemners. Sarvasri Sheo Ram, Govind Singh, Surendra Singh and Ram Dutt Doholiya, had filed their affidavits and Sri Hari Shanker Khare and Sri Ranvir Singh and Sri Anand Prakash, Sri Udai Narain Srivastava, Advocate and Sri Raja Ram Chaturvedi. Advocate, Orai were not examined before this Court. No opportunity was afforded to the contemners to cross-examine them. Their assertions that Surendra Singh and Ramesh Singh were arrested on the Kalpi Road and not inside the court-room could not be successfully rebutted by the affidavit of the Chief Judicial Magistrate and under such circumstances the contemners well deserve benefit of reasonable doubt.

19. We have carefully considered all these contentions which are simply devoid of force. G. D. Entry, copy of which is on record as Annexure Ex. B and original of which was perused by us unmistakably goes to show that Ramesh Singh and Surendra Singh were arrested by both these contemners on that noon with the help of other police constables. Obviously the constables who were subordinates to these officers had to comply with their orders. The allegation that the arrest was not effected from inside the court room and the surrender application was post arrest and had been prepared in a preplanned manner is demonstrably false. There is the affidavit of Sri S.P. Srivastava, learned Chief Judicial Magistrate which we see no reason to disbelieve and which finds support from surrender application paper No. 3-Ka and the application paper No. 5-Ka containing the orders that the shoes and chappals found inside the court-room were to be preserved by constable Anand Prakash who was ordered to deposit them in sealed up condition in Sadar Malkhana, Orai on the same day. The shoes and chappals could not have been planned in such manner, had they not been actually found in the dock. So the seizure of the shoes and the chap-pals is again a corroborative circumstance about the accuracy of the version given by the Magistrate and falsity of the version put forward by the contemners.

20. It has already been shown above that there is slight difference in the versions given by Degraj Singh and Yagya Datf Rai. Sri Degraj Singh conceded that he had gone to the courtroom of the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate along with his subordinates on that noon simply to arrest Ramesh Singh and Surendra Singh, He sent constables inside the court room of learned Chief Judicial Magistrate and procured the attendance of two associates of Ramesh Singh and Surendra Singh viz. Rafiq Musalman and Dinesh Pandit, They saw Surendra Singh and Ramesh Singh running from the gallery of the court room towards Kalpi Road and after a hot chase arrested them on the Kalpi Road. In para 14 of his counter-affidavit dated 31-1-1982 it was conceded that there was some flutter in the court room and ultimately Ramesh Singh and Surendra Singh emerged. This version is not consistent with the version put forward by Sri Yagyadatt Rai and comes quite near the prosecution version that Surendra Singh and Ramesh Singh were arrested from the dock of the court of learned Chief Judicial Magistrate in the manner alleged by the Magistrate.

21. Both there contemners were named just after the occurrence in application paper No. 6-Ka. They were also named in their affidavits by Ramesh Singh. Surendra Singh. Both the contemners tried to explain away these nominations in their counter-affidavit on account of ill-will. We are not prepared to believe the counter-affidavits of contemners on this point as there is no evidence on record to establish their ill-will with the deponents. Sri Udai Narain Srivastava and Sri Raja Ram Chaturvedi, Advocates were also examined by the learned Magistrate. Sri Raja Ram Chaturvedi named Degraj Singh and Sri Udai Narain Srivastava named both these contemners. The explanation offered by the contemners about their depositions is not acceptable to us, they had no axe to grind against them.

22. Thus there is ample evidence on record to connect the contemners with this crime.

23. Sri J.S. Sengar further argued that it was incumbent on this Court to record evidence. This contention also is not weighty. Under Section 17 of the aforesaid Act the High Court has the power to adopt its own procedure.

Oswald in hit; Contempt of Court, 1910 Edition observed. 'The power of the High Courts to punish summarily contempt of Court is inherent in them by virtue of their status as courts of record and which power is absolute and beyond the reach of legislatures.

24. Proceedings for contempt are of a summary nature And are not suitable for the decision of hotly contested questions of fact.

25. In Sukhdev Singh Sod hi v. Chief Justice and Judges of the Punjab High Court, 1954 SCR 454 : 1954 Cri LJ 460 it was pointed out that the special jurisdiction of a court of record was in no way controlled by Codes of Civil and Criminal Procedure. The High Court can deal with it summarily and adopt its own procedure. All that is necessary is that the procedure is fair and the contemner is aware of the charge against him and given a fair and reasonably opportunity to defend himself.

26. A contempt is not an offence within the meaning of Section 5 12) of the Cr. P.C. nor is the contemner an accused within the meaning of Section 15 of the Oath's Act or within the meaning of Article 20, Sub-clause (3) of the Constitution of India. Contempt is an offence to the court and not to the person who sits as a Judge. Ergo, an insult to the Court it not punished will create a general dissatisfaction in the minds of the public as to the dignity, solemnity and efficacy of the Courts of Justice.

27. A summary and quick mode of meting out punishment to the contemnor if he is guilty is very efficacious in inspiring confidence in public as to the institution of justice. Without such protection courts would go down in public respect and maintenance of law and order will be in jeopardy. Such need for brevi manu procedure was approved by Hon'ble Justice Mukherjee in Amrit Bazar Patrika Case. ILR 45 Cal If 10. (sic)

28. In cases like the present where the contempt does not occur in th* presence and hearing of the Court, it has to be brought to the attention of the Court by affidavits or sworn statements of facts by persons who witnessed them and having knowledge of them. The essentials to be observed by this Court in such proceedings are:

1. Service of order of Court said to have been disobeyed upon contemner

2. Precise act of contempt.

3. Precise responsibility of contemner in act of contempt,

4. Date of alleged contempt.

All these essentials have been fully oft-served in this case and the contemners have been duly notified and served with them.

29. In practice also contempt matters in High Court are generally heard on affidavits and on record only. When the interests of justice require examination of defendant, oral examination is permissible so as to test his veracity particularly when affidavits filed on either side make it difficult for evaluating their probative value.

30. In the instant case we did not think any examination of any deponent on oath in this Court essential on account of overwhelming evidence and circumstances available on record against the contemners.

31. The procedure adopted by us is perfectly in. consonance with principles of natural justice. Both the conlemners had full opportunity to meet allegations against them; in defence they also filed the counter-affidavits; the Magistrate also filed rejoinder affidavits. Ordinarily the matter has to be determined on affidavits and oral arguments. So on the evidence on record we find that the proceedings in this case do not suffer from any procedural irregularity or infirmity.

32 . The next, contention put forward by Mr. Sengar was that the police officers were acting in the discharge of their duties and so any act committed by them did not constitute contempt of the Court. They were well within their rights to arrest the absconders without permission of the Magistrate.

33. This contention is devoid of force. Any act done having a tendency to interfere with the administration of justice is contempt; making or causing to be made any noise or disturbance within or without the precincts of the court or creating any riot near the court so that any trial or hearing is materially disturbed or hindered is a contempt of Court. (See Oswald at pages 52 and 53).

34. In the instant case both the accused viz. Surendra Singh and Ramesh Singh approached the court of the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate in connection with their surrender application. The contemners in a high handed manner deprived the court to dispose of their surrender application and thus denied the court the power to administer justice duly and impartially and it clearly amounted to a gross contempt of court. Such act and conduct of the contemners clearly amounted to interference with the administration of justice in this case. The contemners never informed the court about any warrant, etc. in their possession nor sought his permission before apprehension of Ramesh Singh and Surendra Singh and are not entitled to any protection by alleging that the aforesaid accused were local terrors and absconders and they were duty bound to arrest them despite the commission of contempt of court. So they are held guilty of Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

35. Learned Counsel for the contemners next submitted that the contempt has been purged by the apology tendered by the contemners.

36. If apology is to dilute the gravity of the offence it should be voluntary, unconditional and indicative of remorse and contrition tendered at the earliest opportunity. In the instant case it has been found that the apology was offered by both the contemners while denying the act of contempt and was not sincere and so it was simply an empty formality. Such apology which is devoid of remorse could not counteract or palliate the mischief that had already been done.

37. Having regard to the fact that the contemners were well experienced officers knowing the dignity and deco-rum of the court and the gross nature of the contempt committed by them it would be a misplaced leniency to accept their apology and to sentence them with a paltry amount of fine,

38. Still taking a lenient view in the matter we sentence the contemners Degraj Singh and Yagya Dutt Rai to simple imprisonment for one week only. Let the contemners surrender failing which they shall be arrested to serve out tht sentence.


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