Skip to content


Babulal Shukla Vs. Shivpratapsingh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal;Contempt of Court
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Misc. Appln. No. 15 of 1956
Judge
Reported inAIR1957MP152; 1957CriLJ1137
ActsContempt of Courts Act, 1952 - Sections 4
AppellantBabulal Shukla
RespondentShivpratapsingh
Appellant AdvocateD.P. Bhargava, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateL.S. Shukla, Adv.
Cases ReferredP) (A) and Jagannath v. Shivpratapsingh
Excerpt:
- - kk 3. it is then suggested in the news item that certain police officers were mixed up with the petitioner and had failed to bring him to book; the petitioner complained that by publishing this news item the opponent who is the editor of 'nav prabhat' has committed contempt of court and submitted that he should therefore be suitably punished......there appeared a news item in 'nav prabhat' a daily newspaper published from indore. the news item was on the front page of the paper and the head lines printed in block letters were as follows:--ckcw 'kqdyk lekt ij dyad gsfeys gq, iqfyl vf/kdkfj;ksa dks ekqh ughafeysxh x`g ea=h jh nhf{kr dh ?kks'k.kk3. it is then suggested in the news item that certain police officers were mixed up with the petitioner and had failed to bring him to book; that the home minister had therefore deputed a conscientious police officer as district superintendent of police to indore. it is further stated that the police officers who are alleged to have been mixed up would not be excused if the allegations made against them were found to be proved.4. on 22nd march, 1956 the petitioner submitted a.....
Judgment:

Samvatsar, J.

1. Facts giving rise to this petition are as follows: In the month of March, 1956 the petitioner was being prosecuted in the Court of the Additional City Magistrate, Indore, for an offence under Section 307, I.P.O. The police had also instituted proceedings against the petitioner under Section 110, Cr. PC and that, case was also pending before the Additional District Magistrate, District Indore.

2. On 18th March, 1956 during the pendency of these proceedings, there appeared a news item in 'Nav Prabhat' a daily newspaper published from Indore. The news item was on the front page of the paper and the head lines printed in block letters were as follows:--

ckcw 'kqDyk lekt ij dyad gS

feys gq, iqfyl vf/kdkfj;ksa dks ekQh ughafeysxh x`g ea=h Jh nhf{kr dh ?kks'k.kk

3. It is then suggested in the news item that certain police officers were mixed up with the petitioner and had failed to bring him to book; that the Home Minister had therefore deputed a conscientious police officer as District Superintendent of Police to Indore. It is further stated that the police officers who are alleged to have been mixed up would not be excused if the allegations made against them were found to be proved.

4. On 22nd March, 1956 the petitioner submitted a petition to this Court in which he alleged that the publication of the aforesaid news item was calculated to prejudice the public mind against the petitioner and to deprive him of the chance of a fair trial. The petitioner complained that by publishing this news item the opponent who is the editor of 'Nav Prabhat' has committed contempt of Court and submitted that he should therefore be suitably punished.

5. A notice of this petition was issued to the opponent in reply to which he admitted that he was the editor of 'Nav Prabhat' and was responsible for the impugned publication. He also admitted that the publication was objectionable and that it constituted a contempt of Court. After stating the circumstances under which the news item came to be published, the opponent tendered unqualified apology and prayed for condoning the offence.

6. 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 having committed contempt of Court. It is also considered as an extenuating circumstance. The question to bo determined in this case is whether we should accept the apology and hold it sufficient to purge the contempt and let off the opponent altogether as we have done in Alka Theatre v. Shivpratapsingh, Cri. Misc. Appln. No. 54 of 1955 (MP) (A) and Jagannath v. Shivpratapsingh, Cri. Misc. Appln. Nos. 62 and 64 of 1955 (MP) (B), filed against the opponent.

7. 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.

8. It cannot be disputed that even a meanest person has a right to expect that his case will be judged fairly and in an impartial manner. The news item published in this case is, beyond doubt, very objectionable as it was likely to prejudice the public opinion against the petitioner and thereby make it difficult for him to obtain a fair trial in his case, The opponent must, under the circumstance, be held to be guilty of contempt of Court.

9. Now the question is, whether the apology tendered by the opponent should be held sufficient to purge the contempt.

10. In this respect it must be borne in mind that this is not the first time that the opponent is hauled up for contempt. There have been at least three previous publications in respect of which he has been called upon to answer a charge for contempt In the first case, which was the case of Cri. Misc. Appln. No. 54 of 1955 (MP) (A), the objectionable matter was published in the issue of Nav Prabhat' dated 6-9-1955 whereas in Cri Misc. Appln. Nos. 62 and 64 of 1955 (MP) (B), the objectionable articles were published on 11th and 14th October, 1955 respectively. The opponent Shivpratapsingh was served with a notice in all these coses and put in appearance through his Counsel Mr. L. S. Shukla, on 8th December, 1955. When these cases came up for hearing, an apology was tendered in each of these cases and it was accepted by us as the opponent had stated that those news items were published in his absence and his Counsel assured us that he had already taken steps to prevent the recurrence of such events.

11. The present news item appeared In the 'Nav Prabhat' on 18-3-1956, i.e., about four months after the petitioner had been apprised of the fact that the High Court took serious notice of publications which are likely to afiect the trial of pending cases and this is not in keeping with the assurance given by Mr. Shukla. In view of the fact that the present case is a case of repetition of publication of objectionable matter we do not think that an apology in the present case is sufficient to purge the contempt. When the publication is due to a repetition and negligence, which had been condoned in the past, the apology appears to be a mere formality.

12. We therefore are not disposed to accept the apology and to drop the proceedings altogether. Considering however that the opponent has tendered an unqualified apology and has not by his conduct aggravated the offence, we think that a fine of Rs. 100 would serve the ends of justice. Order accordingly.

13. The opponent shall pay the costs of the petitioner. Advocate's fees shall be taxed at Rs. 50.

Dixit, J.

14. I agree.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //