1. This reference arises out of a criminal case pending in the Court of Additional District Magistrate, Bhind in which the accused persons are said to have been granted 'anticipatory bail' by the Additional District Magistrate on the authority of the decision of Abdul Hakim J., in Criminal Miscellaneous Application No. 2 of 1951. By this reference purporting to be one under Section 438, Criminal P.C. Mr. L.C. Gupta the District Magistrate of Bhind desires that this Court should take into consideration the points mentioned in para. 4 of the reference while reconsidering the decision of this Court in Criminal Miscellaneous application No. 2 of 1951. The District Magistrate says in his reference:
3. Since I understand that the said ruling is still under consideration of the High Court, I make this reference for consideration of r the High Court mainly on the ground that the wordings of the Section 497 as they stand today do not admit of grant of anticipatory bail as discussed in para. 2 above and therefore, the order of the A. D.M., Bhind is against law.
4. Grant of anticipatory bail besides being illegal creates following difficulties in properly completing the investigation by the police:
(i) Accused persons remain in hiding till bail is granted and thereby delay in investigation.
(ii) Chances of getting approver's testimony are made difficult.
(iii) Minimising the chances of getting evidence under Sections 27, 29 and 30 of Evidence Act.
(iv) Minimising the chances of getting the circumstancial evidence at the time of arrest of the accused by his reaction and conduct at the time.
(v) Tampering with the evidence during investigation.
The ease is, therefore, forwarded to the High Court of Judicature M.B. Indore for consideration under Section 439, Criminal P.C. File of lower Court is enclosed.
2. From what has been stated above, it is clear that the reference made by Mr. L.C. Gupta the District Magistrate of Bhind is not for setting aside the order of the Additional District Magistrate granting bail to certain persons, on the ground that in the circumstances of the case bail should not have been granted to those persons. The primary purpose of the reference, seems to me, to suggest to this Court certain points, which according to the District Magistrate this Court ought to take into consideration while reconsidering the decision of Abdul Hakim J. It must be noted that when this reference was made, the decision of Abdul Hakim J., was actually being reconsidered by a Full Bench of this Court.
3. When this reference first came up for hearing before me in the presence of the learned Deputy Government Advocate for the State, I observed that this was a very extra-ordinary and unwarranted reference. I also said that in making this reference the District Magistrate had transgressed all limits of balance and propriety expected from judicial officers and Magistrates subordinate to this Court. As I wanted to consider the matter carefully, I reserved orders in the reference. As a sequel to the observations made by me, Mr. L.C. Gupta, District Magistrate, Bhind has now tendered before me an apology expressing his regret for the unwarranted reference he has made and for the observations in para. 3 and 4 of the reference, which he now realises, were disrespectful to this Court. In view of this apology, I do not wish to pursue the matter further and dismiss it as a lapse on the part of an officer, whose zeal as an executive officer responsible for maintaining law and order has outweighed his duties as a Magistrate subordinate to this Court. But I must add for the benefit of the judicial Officers and Magistrates subordinate to this Court that a decision of this Court may not appear to them as laying down the correct law. It may be subsequently overruled by this Court or set aside by the Supreme Court. But so long as it has not been so overruled or set aside, it is binding on all. Judicial Officers and Magistrates have not the liberty of criticising the decisions of this Court. Much less can they deliver to this Court a homily on the matters it should take into consideration while examining the correctness of any decision. If they do so, their act is, no doubt, in common parlance an act of insubordination, but in law it amounts to a contempt of Court and they are liable to be dealt with as such for that act. The fact that the criticism or the suggestions have been made by a Judicial Officer or a Magistrate in the course of judicial proceedings cannot alter the nature of the act. There is ample authority for the proposition that Judges of inferior Courts and Magistrates can be punished for contempt of Court for acting unjustly, oppressively or 'irregularly in the execution of their duties' by colour of judicial proceedings wholly unwarranted by law, or for disobeying writs issued by the High Court requiring them to proceed or not to proceed in matters before them. See - Rex v. Davies (1906) 1 KB 32; Hallsbury's Laws of England, Halisham edition, Volume 7 para 35; - Satinath Sikdar v. Ratanmani Naskar 14 Ind Cas 808 (Cal); - In re-Palani Kumara Chinnayya AIR 1922 Mad 337.
4. With these observations I reject the reference. It is needless to say that it is open to the state to move the Sessions Judge of Bhind for the cancellation of bail on the ground that in the facts and circumstances of the case, the Additional District Magistrate, Bhind should not have exercised his discretion in favour of the accused persons in granting them anticipatory bail.