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The State Vs. V. Adilakshmi Amma and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtOrissa High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1954CriLJ988
AppellantThe State
RespondentV. Adilakshmi Amma and ors.
Cases ReferredKaruna Kumar v. Lankaran
Excerpt:
- motor vehicles act, 1988 [c.a. no. 59/1988]section 173(1) proviso; [d. biswas, amitava roy & i.a.ansari, jj] appeal without statutory deposit but within limitation/or extended period of limitation maintainability - held, if the provision of a statute speaks of entertainment of appeal, it denotes that the appeal cannot be admitted to consideration unless other requirements are complied with. the provision of sub-section (1) of section 173 permits filing of an appeal against an award within 90 days with a rider in the first proviso that such appeal filed cannot be entertained unless the statutory deposit is made. the period of limitation is applicable only to the filing of the appeal and not to the deposit to be made. it, therefore, appears that an appeal filed under section 173 cannot.....narasimham, j.1. this is a proceeding for contempt of court initiated on the report of the subordinate judge of berhampur who alleged that the three members of the opposite party committed contempt of his court by resisting a receiver appointed by him (sri dinabandhu das) in title suit no. 29 of 1951 in taking possession and managing some of the property involved in that suit situated in village pundi and its vicinity.2. opposite party no. 1 v. adilakshmi is the wife of opposite party no. 2 v. v. rama rao and opposite party no. 3 v. v. venkateswara rao is their second son. the father of v. v. rama rao was one v. kameswar rao who was a rich influential & highly respected man of his time. he died sometime ia 1949 leaving considerable immovable property situate partly in orissa state and.....
Judgment:

Narasimham, J.

1. This is a proceeding for contempt of Court initiated on the report of the Subordinate Judge of Berhampur who alleged that the three members of the opposite party committed contempt of his Court by resisting a Receiver appointed by him (Sri Dinabandhu Das) in Title Suit No. 29 of 1951 in taking possession and managing some of the property involved in that suit situated in Village Pundi and its vicinity.

2. Opposite Party No. 1 V. Adilakshmi is the wife of opposite party No. 2 V. V. Rama Rao and opposite party No. 3 V. V. Venkateswara Rao is their second son. The father of V. V. Rama Rao was one V. Kameswar Rao who was a rich influential & highly respected man of his time. He died sometime ia 1949 leaving considerable immovable property situate partly in Orissa State and partly in village Pundi and other villages in Vizagapatnam district of Madras State. He left a second son named V. B. Narayan Rao and a widow named V. Mahalakshmi Amma.

The said lady instituted Title Suit No. 29/51 in the Court of the Subordinate Judge, Berhampur, claiming recovery of possession of certain property inclusive of the residential house of the family situate at Pundi, two mills and other property there alleging that these were her exclusive properties having been bequeathed to her by a Will executed by her deceased husband Kameswar Rao. In that suit she impleaded as defendants her two sons, namely, V. V. Rama Rao (defendant no. 1) and V. B. Narayan Rao (defendant no. 4) and the two major sons of V. V. Rama Rao known as V. V. Kameswar Rao (defendant no. 2) and V. Venkateswara Rao (defendant no. 3).

On 9-5-1951 the learned Subordinate Judge appointed an Advocate of Berhampur named Sri Dinabandhu Das as interim Receiver in respect of the suit property and directed him to take possession of all the property including the residential house of the family at Pundi which was then in the occupation of the plaintiff's two sons, namely, V. V. Rama Rao and V. B. Narayan Rao. In pursuance of this order the Receiver went to village Pundi on 11-5-1951 accompanied by another Advocate of Berhampur named C. V. Suryanarayana (who appeared for the plaintiff) and took possession of certain mango topes and some landed property. There were two mills, one of which was a big rice and groundnut mill which had been sealed by the Civil Supplies Department of Madras. The other mill was a small one known as Home-huller and Salt-crusher mill which was found to be locked up by V. V. Rama Rao.

Neither he nor his elder sons were in the village and consequently the Receiver was unable to take possession of this mill. The Receiver however put his own seal and lock on the door of the mill and left a notice with a younger son of V. V. Rama Rao not to interfere with the seal of that mill. The Receiver however apprehended that serious breach of peace might arise in his administering the property and in his first report dated 12-5-1951 (Ex. 5) he requested the Court (Subordinate Judge of Berhampur) to arrange for police help.

On 19-5-1951 V. V. Rama Rao filed a revision petition (C. R. no. 121/51) before this Court against the order of the Subordinate Judge appointing an interim Receiver. An interim order was issued by this Court staying the hands of the Receiver. But on 29-5-1951 the then Vacation Judge passed a consent order vacating the interim stay order and directing the Receiver to proceed with the administration of the suit property except the residential house at Pundi regarding which he directed that possession of defendants 1 and 4 should not be disturbed. This order was passed in the presence of the parties and also of the Receiver Sri Dinabandhu Das who was present at Puri on that date.

The Receiver again went to village Pundi on 2-6-1951 anticipating that in view of the consent order passed by the High Court there would be no difficulty in his taking possession of all the suit properties except of course the residential house at Pundi. He had also given intimation to the Taluk Supplies Officer at Tekkali to remove the seals from the rice and groundnut mill so as to enable him to take possession of the mill. On the 2nd June when he went to Pundi neither V. V. Rama Rao nor his two major sons V. Kameswar Rao and V, Venkateswar Rao appeared before him. But V. V. Rama Rao's wife V. Adilakshmi (Opposite party no. 1) handed over to him a petition written in Telugu and further stated that her minor son Govinda Rajulu had also a share in the ancestral property, that he had not been impleaded as a party and that she as his guardian would not allow him to take possession of the suit property.

She also stated to him that any attempt on his part to take possession would be resisted. The Receiver attempted to pacify the lady by saying that he was merely an officer of the Court and was bound to execute its order and that she should seek redress before the Court and not before him. At about 2 p. m. the Taluk Magistrate and the Taluk Supplies Officer of Tekkali also arrived there. In the meantime a mob began to collect near the ancestral house of the family and these officers as well as the Receiver apprehended that physical resistance may be offered if they attempted to take possession of the two mills. The Receiver thereupon sought the help of the Subdivisional Magistrate of Srikakulam who was then at Tekkali.

The latter passed an order (Ex. 12-b) directing the Station House Officer of Kasibugga to take action to prevent breach of peace. Armed with this order the Receiver approached the Police Circle Inspector at Palasa and the latter also promised to arrange for police help. On 3-6-1951 the Receiver again went to village Pundi at about 11.30 a. m. accompanied by Sri C. V. Suryanarayana, Advocate for the plaintiff. They found that a huge crowd had collected near the residential house of the family. At about 1 p. m. under some pretext Advocate Suryanarayana was roughly handled by the mob, thrown on the ground and mercilessly assaulted with fists and causing some bleeding injuries. His pair of spectacles was lost in the melee.

The Receiver was then sitting in another room of the house and therefore did not see the actual assault on Advocate Suryanarayana; but when an alarm was raised he deputed certain persons to rescue the Advocate and afterwards learnt from him the circumstances under which he was beaten by the mob. The ring-leader of the mob was said to be one Dokkari Baligadu a staunch partisan of defendant no, 1. It was also alleged that while Advocate C. V. Suryanarayana was being assaulted Adilakshmi and V. Venkateswar Rao were standing on the terrace of their house and watching the incident. The Receiver noticed a bundle of bamboo-sticks (about twenty or so in number) being removed from the northern wing of the house which was then in occupation of V, V. Rama Rao. The Receiver was then staying in a room of the family house which was then in the occupation of defendant no. 4 Narayan Rao. The assault on the Advocate unnerved the Receiver and he did not venture to come out of the house to take possession of the two mills, though they were not far away from the residential house of the family. At about 5.30 p.m. some police force also arrived at Pundi. But it had no deterrent effect inasmuch as Adilakshmi, her minor son and daughters and V. Venkateswar Rao at once proceeded towards the precincts of the mills to offer resistance as they anticipated that the Receiver may then attempt to take possession of the mills relying on the help of the police.

A mob accompanied them towards the mills. The Receiver therefore thought that discretion was the better part of valour and did not come out of the house to take possession of the mills.

3. On the next day (4-6-1951), the Receiver sent a frantic message to the Circle Inspector of Kasibugga for help. The latter arrived there soon afterwards, sent for Venkateswar Rao and had some conversation with him. Apparently, he was satisfied with the results of his talk with Venkateswar Rao and did not give further help to the Receiver to take possession of the mills. But Venkateswar Rao challenged the authority of the Receiver to take possession and stated that there would be loss of lives if he made any such attempt. The Circle Inspector refused to give any help to the Receiver and the latter had no other alternative but to return to Berhampur disappointed. He submitted a report dated 30-6-1951 to the Subordinate Judge complaining against the conduct of these persons in obstructing him from taking possession of the mills on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th June, 1951.

4. For the purpose of this proceeding it is unnecessary to describe in detail the subsequent history of the litigation between the members of the family except to note that the plaintiff died subsequently and the suit is now being fought out between the two brothers, namely. V. V. Rama Rao and V. B. Narayana Rao. The Receiver had submitted several subsequent reports complaining against defendant no. 1 and his partisans. The Subordinate Judge held a preliminary enquiry into the alleged incidents and after examining the witnesses submitted his report to this Court on 27-11-1951. Contempt proceedings were drawn up against defendant no. 1 V. V. Rama Rao also though he was not seen in the village by the Receiver either on the 2nd or on the 3rd or on the 4th June. His wife Adilakshmi and his younger son V. Venkateswar Rao were also made parties in the contempt proceedings.

The notice issued to them by this Court was as follows:

Original Criminal Misc. Case no. 7 of 1951. In the High Court of Judicature, Orissa Cuttack (Criminal Original Jurisdiction)

Dated Cuttack, 7-12-53.

The State v. Varada Adilakshmi Amma and two others.

NOTICE

To

1. Varada Adilakshmi Amma, wife of Varada Vijaya Rama Rao.

2. Varda Vijaya Rama Rao.

3. Varada Venkateswara Rao.

All of village Pundi R. S.,

District Srikakulam, Madras.

Whereas on perusal of records and reports submitted by the Subordinate Judge of Berhampur, District - Ganjam, in connection with Civil Revision no. 121/51 of this Court arising out of Title Suit No. 29/51 of the Court of the said Subordinate Judge, it transpires that Sri Dina-bandhu Das was appointed as Receiver on 9-5-1951 in Title Suit no. 29/51 between 'Varada Mahalakshmi Amma v. Varada Vijaya Rama Rao and others', and the defendant no. 1 in the said suit did not only represent his own interest but also that of his minor son whose name does not appear specifically on record; that the Receiver was directed by this Court to take possession of all properties in suit after the parties were fully heard in the matter; that in face of the aforesaid order, you resisted the Receiver on 2-6-1951, 3-6-1951 and 4-6-1951 from getting effective possession of the Mills at Pundi and during the course of the resistance, the advocate for the petitioner Mr. C. V. Suryanarayana was badly assaulted on 3-6-1951 and on 5-7-1951, 13-7-1951, 7-11-1951 and 9-11-1951 you also offered resistance to the said Receiver and his staff in due discharge of their duties in respect of the management of the properties specified below in Schedule 'A' which he had, already taken possession of and that such actions on your part amount prima facie to contempt of court.

You (1) 'Varada Adilakshmi Amma

(2) Varada Vijaya Rama Rao

(3) Varada Venkateswara Rao

are accordingly called upon to show cause before this Court by appearing personally on 14-12-1953 at 10.30 a. m. why you should not be punished for such contempt of Court.

By order of the High Court

Sd/- A, Misra.

7-12-1953.

Deputy Registrar.

Schedule - A.

List of properties at Pundi R. S. (Govindam) which the Receiver had taken possession of:

1. Mangom Sapeta, Cashewnut and cassurina topes.

2. Cultivated lands and houses occupied by tenants in the aforesaid village.

3. The Rice and Ground-nut Mill called Shri Kameswara Rice and Ground-nut Mill and another Mill called Salt Crusher and Home-huller Mill.

During the hearing of the contempt proceeding it was conceded by the learned Advocate Mr. P. V, Rao on behalf of the petitioner that the incidents of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th June, 1951 alone need be looked into and that the alleged incidents of July and November, 1951 mentioned in the notice may be ignored. Hence the limited questions for consideration now are:

(1) Whether the acts said to have been committed by the contemners on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th June, 1951 have been established;

and (2) whether they amount to contempt of Court.

These acts refer to the obstructions said to have been offered to the Receiver in taking effective possession of the mills at Pundi which have already been described in the preceding paragraphs of this judgment.

5. The three members of the opposite party filed a petition tendering unqualified apology for the incidents. But they have not filed any petition giving their own version as to what happened on those dates. But they cross-examined the Receiver and some other witnesses examined on the side of the petitioner.

6. Mr. H. Mohapatra on behalf of the opposite party raised a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of this Court to commit the members of the opposite party for contempt. His contention was that the alleged acts of contempt were committed in June, 1951 at village Pundi which is Situated in Madras State and is therefore outside the territorial jurisdiction of this Court. It is true that by the Contempt of Courts Act of 1952 (Act No. 32 of 1952) express jurisdiction was conferred on the High Court to commit persons for contempt even though the acts might have been committed by them outside the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court.

Mr. Mohapatra urged that under the law of contempt as it stood prior to the passing of the said Act the High Court had no ex-territorial jurisdiction and that it could punish for contempt only if the acts were committed within its jurisdiction. In reply to this argument Mr, P, V. B. Rao urged the following two grounds.

1. The High Court had always ex-territorial jurisdiction and Act 32 of 1952 merely clarified the existing law and did not confer new jurisdiction;

2. In any case, the provisions of Act 32 of 1952 conferring ex-territorial jurisdiction are of a procedural nature and consequently they would apply to all proceedings pending on the date of the commencement of the Act even though the acts might have been committed prior to that date.

7. I think it unnecessary to discuss the second point raised by Mr. P. V. B. Rao inasmuch as I have no doubt about the correctness of the first point. A careful examination of the case law prior to 1952 fully supports Mr. Rao's argument that High Courts in India had jurisdiction to commit a person for contempt even though the acts amounting to contempt were committed by him outside their territorial jurisdiction. In -'Kilachand Devchand & Co. v. Adjodhyaprasad Sukhanand' AIR 1934 Bom 452 (A) it was held that the Bombay High Court could punish for contempt a person who interfered with or obstructed a Receiver appointed by the Court even though the obstruction took place at a place known as Debai in the United Provinces (The Province where Debai is situated will be clear from - 'Onkermull v. Padanpat', 53 Cal WN 310 at p. 316 (B) where this case is discussed).

The learned Judges observed that resistance or obstruction to a Receiver appointed by the Court was criminal contempt and not civil contempt and that

the possession of this Court whether it is within the limits of its original civil jurisdiction or outside, continues to be the possession of the Court, and therefore any person who attempts to disturb that possession would be liable to account to this Court for his action.

He further observed:

In cases of criminal contempt I do not see any reason to refrain from holding that the Court has jurisdiction to call upon a defaulting respondent to account for his acts provided, on the facts, the Court considers that it is proper to do so.

In the well-known case of - 'In re Benjamin Guy Horniman' AIR 1944 Bom 127 (O, Beaumont C. J. observed:

I have no doubt that if the Allahabad High Court considers that Mr, Horniman has committed contempt of that Court, 'although the contempt may have been committed outside the Jurisdiction of that Court' it could deal with Mr. Horniman if her were within its jurisdiction.

Doubtless the learned C. J.'s reliance on - 'H. D. Rajah v. C. H. Witherington' AIR 1934 Mad 423 (D) in support of this observation seems to be not correct; but that does not detract from the value to be attached to his observation as regards the ex-territorial jurisdiction of High Courts in cases of contempt.

In a recent decision of the Calcutta High Court reported in '53 Cal WN 310 (B)', it was held that

In matters of contempt the High Courts, which have inherited the powers of the Supreme Court, exercise somewhat extraordinary jurisdiction and the powers are arbitrary. Consequently, no territorial limitation should be put in 'cases, of contempt which is really a contempt against the Sovereign, when neither any Statute nor the provisions of the Charters expressly put such limitation.

This case is thus a direct authority on the subject. No case expressing a contrary view has been cited before us except 'AIR 1934 Mad 423 (D)' in which there is an observation to the effect that contempt of Court conforms to the ordinary rule that the jurisdiction of the Court is determined by the place where the offence is committed. But this observation was in the nature of an obiter arid the point for decision by the learned Judges of the Madras High Court in that case was whether the Court had jurisdiction to commit a person who having committed contempt within its jurisdiction absconded to a place outside its jurisdiction when proceedings were initiated. The specific question at issue in the present case did not arise for decision there.

8. Mr. Mohapatra however attempted to distinguish the aforesaid decisions on two grounds:

1. The contempt alleged against the members of the opposite party was civil contempt and not criminal contempt;

2. In any case, the position of Chartered High Courts like Bombay and Calcutta in respect of contempt would differ fundamentally from that of a newly constituted High Court like the Orissa High Court.

In my opinion neither of these contentions can prevail.

The distinction between civil contempt and criminal contempt has been indicated at pp. 2 and 24 of the Halsbury, 2nd edition, volume 7 and it has been also quoted in - 'AIR 1934 Bom 452 (A)'. Words or acts which obstruct or tend to obstruct administration of justice would always amount to criminal contempt inasmuch as they offend the Majesty of law. Whereas contempt of procedure consisting of unintentional disobedience of orders, processes of the Court and involving a private injury are classified as civil contempts.

Mr. Mohapatra attempted to make a distinction between resistance or obstruction to a Receiver after he had taken possession of the suit property which, according to him, may amount to criminal contempt, whereas resistance to his taking possession of the suit property would merely amount to contempt in procedure. This distinction is however without any authority. On the other hand in the Bombay case mentioned above - 'AIR 1934 Bom 452 (A)', at p. 456 it is expressly stated that refusal by a party to deliver possession to a Receiver would also amount to contempt of this type provided that the party was aware of the a appointment of the Receiver and after being called upon by him to deliver possession did not do so.

9. The Orissa High Court was constituted by an order made by the Governor-General under the provisions of the Government of India Act. Doubtless, to that extent it differs from Chartered High Courts like Calcutta and Bombay, But as regards its jurisdiction in respect of contempt I am unable to find any difference. Its power to punish for contempt is derived from Section 220, Government of India Act, 1935 which declared that every High Court shall be a Court of Record. There are innumerable decisions to show that High Courts are superior Courts of Record and they have inherent power to punish for contempt. This power was expressly recognised in Article 215 of the Constitution. The power of the Chartered High Courts to punish for contempt appears to have been derived from a similar provision in the Charter of 1774 which is referred to at p. 348 of - 'Chandan Mall Karmani v. Sardarilal', ILR (1937) 1 Cal 345 (E).

1 may quote the passage;

The Charter establishing the Supreme Court in 1774 provided by Clause 4 that the Judges should have the same jurisdiction and authority as the Judges of the Court of King's Bench in England and by Clause 21 expressly provided that the Court is empowered to punish for contempt.

The Constitution also in Article 215 expressly confers power on this Court to punish for contempt. Hence, whatever may be the historical origin of the Chartered High Courts, so far as the power to punish for contempt is concerned, the provisions in the Charter are also identical with the provisions in Article 215 of the Constitution and there is no special reason as to why it should be assumed that this Court's power is not so wide as that of any Chartered High Court.

10. I am therefore of the view that the reasonings adopted in - '53 Cal WN 310 (B)', would apply with full force and that even prior to the passing of the Contempt of Courts Act 1952 every High Court had Jurisdiction to commit a person for contempt even though the act alleged was committed outside its territorial jurisdiction. There was no express provision either in the Contempt of Courts Act, 1926 or in Section 220, Government of India Act, or in Article 215 of the Constitution barring such ex-territorial jurisdiction. The Contempt of Courts Act, 1952 was enacted by way of clarification and not as creating a new type of jurisdiction which did not exist from before.

11. I now take up the merits of the case. The evidence is practically one-sided. The receiver has -examined himself, proved his two reports (Exts. 5 and 5-a) and stood the test of cross-examination. He is an Advocate of Berhampur Bar and his respectability and disinterestedness are beyond question. The then Deputy Tahsildar of Tekkali has also deposed on behalf of the petitioner and stated that on 2-6-1951 when he went to Pundi with the Receiver Venkateswar Rao told him that he would offer resistance if the mill was handed over to the Receiver. This witness then found about hundred persons with sticks near the mill. He also anticipated trouble and did not venture to open the mill and to hand it over to the Receiver.

Sri C. V. Suryanarayana, an Advocate of Berhampur Bar, who accompanied the Receiver to Pundi and who was an Advocate employed by Narayan Rao has also deposed and spoken about the circumstances leading to the assault on him by some members of the mob. Another witness named K. Venkateswarulu (P. W. 4) has proved the participation of Rama Rao in the whole affair. Doubtless, this witness's evidence is open to grave suspicion Inasmuch as he is a close relation of Narayan Rao between whom and Rama Rao bitter litigation is now going On. This witness stated that it was Rama Rao who went to Pundi during the night of the 2nd, 3rd June, 1951 and made all arrangements to resist the Receiver on the next day and very cleverly went away from the village so as to save himself.

But neither the Receiver nor Advocate Suryanarayana saw Rama Rao on 2nd, 3rd or 4th June, 1951, and though there may be a strong suspicion that the resistance offered by Adilakshmi and her younger son was inspired by him I would not, on the uncorroborated testimony of P. W. 4 hold him guilty of such instigation. At any, rate, he is entitled to the benefit of doubt.

12. So far as Adilakshmi and Venkateswar Rao are concerned the following specific overt acts have been proved to have been committed by them.

13. 2-6-1951. Adilakshmi appeared before the Receiver, handed over a petition 'written in Telugu and stated definitely that as the guardian of her minor son Govinda Rajulu she would not permit him to take possession of the suit property and that any attempt on his part would be resisted. She left in him no doubt about her intention. On the same day Venkateswar Rao told B. Appa Rao, Deputy Tahsildar of Tekkali and the Taluq Supplies Officer that he had no objection if the stocks were verified in the rice mill but he would offer resistance if the mill was handed over to the Receiver.

14. 3-G-1951. At 1 p.m. Advocate Suryanarayana was roughly handled by a mob led by one Dokkari Baligadu who according to this Advocate was doing services for Rama Rao and giving instructions to the other servants. At the time of the assault, Adilakshmi and Venkateswara Rao were standing on the terrace of their house. Some lathies were collected in a portion of the house under their occupation and a mob also had collected there. The Receiver was so much terror-stricken by this incident that he did not venture to come out of the room in the house where he was staying, to take possession of the mills.

But at 5-30 p.m. when the police force arrived and he plucked up some courage he was again frightened because Adilakshmi, Venkataswara Rao and some other family members proceeded towards the mills to offer resistance. He also saw a mob accompanying them. He rightly apprehended that if he went to the mills to take possession he may share the same fate as Advocate Suryanarayana and therefore retracted to avoid further trouble.

15. 4-6-1951. In the presence of the Circle Inspector, Venkataswar Rao threatened the Receiver that lives would be lost if he attempted to take possession of the mills. The Receiver requested the Circle Inspector to help him; but as the latter seemed to take the side of Venkateswar Rao the Receiver could do nothing. The net result of the acts of Adilakshmi and Venkataswar Rao was that the Receiver could not take possession of the mills on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th June, and with a view to avoid breach of peace he had to come away disappointed.

16. It was urged that though the acts proved against these two members of the opposite party may show an intention or preparation to offer resistance to taking possession of the mills they do not indicate that actual resistance was offered inasmuch as the Receiver did not go near the mills and demand possession from either Adilakshmi or Venkateswar Rao. It is true that under ordinary circumstances mere intention or preparation to resist may not suffice. But in the present case the acts proved against these two persons should be viewed in the proper perspective, Venkateswar Rao was a party in the Title Suit being defendant No. 3 and on 12-5-1951 the Subordinate Judge had directed the defendants to hand over the keys of the mills at Pundi to the Receiver and had also authorised the Receiver to break open the locks of the mills for the purpose of taking possession.

On the 16th May, Venkateswar Rao met the Receiver at Pundi and told him that the keys of the mills would be handed over to him on the return of his father. He was therefore fully aware that when the Receiver went to Pundi on 2-6-1951 he had come there for the express purpose of taking possession of the two mills. In fact, his statement to P. W. 2 on that date to the effect that he would offer resistance if the mills were handed over to the Receiver makes it absolutely clear that he was fully aware of the purpose of Receiver's visit to Pundi on that date.

It is true that Adilakshmi was not a party in the suit and knowledge -about the orders passed by the High Court in the suit may not be fairly attributed to her. But her conduct in appearing before the Receiver on the 2nd June, handing over a petition on behalf of her minor son Govinda Bajulu and saying that she would not permit him to take possession of the suit property indicates unmistakably that she was also fully aware of the purpose of the visit of the Receiver to Pundi on that date. Again on the 3rd she, her son Venkateswar Rao and other females went from their residential house to the mills in a bullock cart accompanied by a huge mob armed with lathis, at a time when after the arrival of the police force the Receiver was thinking of going and taking possession of the mills.

On the next day (4-6-1951) Venkateswar Rao had no hesitation in threatening that lives would be lost if the Receiver made any attempt to take possession of the mills. In view of these facts and circumstances I think that a formal demand by the Receiver to these persons to give up possession of the mills was not necessary and they by their conduct made it absolutely clear that he would be resisted by force if he made any attempt to take possession. It would have been too risky on his part to have gone to the precincts of the mills on the 3rd evening and attempted to take possession.

As pointed out in - 'Karuna Kumar v. Lankaran' AIR 1933 All 759 (P), even threats of violence coupled with an aggressive or menacing attitude on the part of the person uttering the threat and by other gestures may easily amount to obstruction, if they cause a reasonable apprehension in the mind of a public servant that resistance would be offered if he attempted to discharge his duty. The present case is of a similar type and I think on the proved facts and circumstances it must be held that Adilakshmi and Venkateswar Rao did resist the Receiver from getting effective possession of the mills at Pundi on the three dates. The rough handling of C. V. Suryanarayana by some of their supporters was only by way of warning the Receiver about the fate that would happen to him if he ventured to take possession of the mills. It would have been therefore foolhardy on his part to ignore the warning and approach the mill premises.

17. In view of the unconditional apology tendered by the members of the opposite party I do not think that any substantive sentence of imprisonment is called for though otherwise I would have been inclined to take a very serious view of the acts committed by Venkateswar Rao. While therefore holding him guilty of contempt of Court I would direct that he should pay a fine of Rs. 100/- in default of which he should undergo simple imprisonment for one month.

Adilakshmi is also held guilty of contempt of Court. But as she appears to have acted under the instigation of her son Venkateswar Rao and presumably of her husband V. Rama Rao who very cleverly kept himself in the background, I do not think it necessary to impose any sentence on her, especially in view of her unconditional apology. She is let off with a severe warning. V, Rama Rao is not held guilty of contempt and the rule against him is discharged.

Mohanty, J.

18. I agree.


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