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P.D. Gaur Vs. Balasundram - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectContempt of Court
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetter Patent Appeal No. 106 of 1968
Judge
Reported inAIR1969P& H60; 1969CriLJ320
ActsContempt of Courts Act, 1952 - Sections 3
AppellantP.D. Gaur
RespondentBalasundram
Appellant Advocate U.D. Gaur, Adv.
Respondent Advocate D.D. Verma and; S.K. Aggarwal, Advs.
Cases ReferredHoshiar Singh v. Gurbachan Singh.
Excerpt:
.....decided by a single judge. it has to be kept in mind that the special statute only provide for an appeal to the high court. it has not made any provision for filing appeal to a division bench against the judgment or decree or order of a single judge. no letters patent appeal shall lie against a judgment/order passed by a single judge in an appeal arising out of a proceeding under a special act. sections 100-a [as inserted by act 22 of 2002] & 104:[dr. b.s. chauhan, cj, l. mohapatra & a.s. naidu, jj] writ appeal held, a writ appeal shall lie against judgment/orders passed by single judge in a writ petition filed under article 226 of the constitution of india. in a writ application filed under articles 226 and 227 of constitution, if any order/judgment/decree is passed in exercise of..........from the date of order. this order was confirmed on 21st of july, 1967, sarkaria, j., and the time was extended by three weeks for putting in the security i.e., upto 18th of august , 1967. on 18th of august, 1967 further extension of two months was granted in the presence of the advocate for the state and the departmental authorities. on 22nd august, 1967 , p. d. gaur, appellant, went to the office of the eastern electronics to find out whether the period for furnishing security had been further extended by the high court. the petitioner, n. balasundram, alleged in his petition that p. d. gaur went to his factory on 22-8- 1967 at about 10.00 a. m. and threatened shri b. n. sharma, manager, with arrest of the petitioner and attachment of his property. the manager told him that the.....
Judgment:

B.R. Tuli, J.

1. On a petition under section 3 of the Contempt of Courts Act. 1952, filed by N. Balasundram, the appellant was held guilty of committing the contempt of this Court and was administered a severe warning by R.P. Khosla, J. The appellant has filed this Letters Patent Appeal against his conviction.

2. The petitioner, N. Balasundram , is the proprietor of Messrs. Eastern Electronics, Faridabad, and he has obtained an ad interim stay order from the vacation Judge in Civil Writ No. 979 of 1967 staying recovery of the amount of sales tax due on the petitioner's furnishing bank guarantee for the amount in question within two months from the date of order. This order was confirmed on 21st of July, 1967, Sarkaria, J., and the time was extended by three weeks for putting in the security i.e., upto 18th of August , 1967. On 18th of August, 1967 further extension of two months was granted in the presence of the Advocate for the State and the Departmental Authorities. On 22nd August, 1967 , P. D. Gaur, appellant, went to the office of the Eastern Electronics to find out whether the period for furnishing security had been further extended by the High Court. The petitioner, N. Balasundram, alleged in his petition that P. D. Gaur went to his factory on 22-8- 1967 at about 10.00 A. M. and threatened Shri B. N. Sharma, Manager, with arrest of the petitioner and attachment of his property. The Manager told him that the Taxation Department was time and again willfully disobeying the order of this Court whereupon P. D. Gaur asked the Manager to submit an affidavit to the effect that the stay was still operative and valid and time for furnishing the bank guarantee had been further extended. As the petitioner had already left by air for Madras, his Manager regretted his inability to comply with the direction of P. D. Gaur. Ultimately, the Manager gave him a letter addressed to K. R. Awasthy, Excise and Taxation Officer, Faridabad, stating that the time for furnishing bank guarantee had been further extended till 16th October , 1967 . P. D. Gaur filed his reply to the contempt petition in whi;ch he stated that an 22-8-1967, he did not go to execute any warrant against the petitioner but visited his office for eliciting information if any extension order had been issued and he was informed that a further extension had been allowed on 18-8-1967. He pleaded that he had not committed any contempt and that the rule might be discharged.

3. The learned Single Judge who tried the contempt petition held that since the order for extension of the time for furnishing bank guarantee had been extended on 18th August, 1967, in the presence of the counsel for the Departmental Authorities including P. D. Gaur , there was no justification for the appellant to plead that he had no information about the order having been passed. The learned 'Single Judge, therefore, held him guilty of contempt and administered severe warning in view of the fact that the appellant had thrown himself at the mercy of the court and had tendered an unconditional apology.

4. Felling aggrieved from the order of conviction, the appellant has filed this appeal under clause 10 of the Letters Patent. The learned Counsel for N. Balasundram, respondent, has raised four preliminary objections which are dealt with hereafter. The first preliminary objections is that no Letters Patent Appeal is competent. The charge against the appellant was of disobedience of an order of stay granted by this court in; a pending Civil Writ which is a civil proceeding . It has been held by a Division Bench of this Court (Gosain and Grover, JJ.) in Shri Ram Narain Mathur v. The Hon'ble Judges of the High Court at Chandigarh (ILR (1958) Punj 2104) that an appeal under clause 10 of the Letters Patent against the order of a Single Judge of the High Court holding the appellant guilty of contempt of the High Court is contempt. Such an order is not made in the exercise of the criminal jurisdiction of the High Court. Even if a distinction between civil and criminal contempt's is to be accepted, the order of the single Judge in this case would still be appealable inasmuch as the punishment awarded by him is for disobedience of the orders of the High Court in Civil Proceedings which constitute civil contempt. We are in respectful agreement with the proposition of law laid down in that judgment and hold that the Letters Patent Appeal is competent in the present case.

5. The second objection raised by the learned counsel for the respondent is that the Chief Justice and other Judges of this Curt were necessary parties to the appeal as the contempt had been committed of this Court. I find no substance in this objection. The petition for contempt was filed by the respondent and was prosecuted by him. It is not necessary that the Chief Justice and the Judges of the High Court should be made parties to an appeal against the order of a Single Judge convicting as person of the offence of having committed the contempt of the High Court in a case initiated on a complaint made by a private person and not initiated by the Court on its own motion. The High Court , in such a case, is the Court of Record entrusted with the power ;of punishing contempt under the contempt of Courts Act and the Court whose Judgment or order is under appeal is not made a respondent to that appeal .

6. The third objection raised by the learned counsel is that the appeal was not competent as the appellant had tendered unqualified apology. There is no substance in this contention either. The appellant had pleaded that he had not committed any contempt for the reason that he did not know of the extension of time granted by this court and that he had gone to the office of the respondent merely to elicit information whether the time had been extended. During the course of the trial he tendered unqualified apology to avoid any severe punishment. The appellant was not let off on the acceptance of his apology but was convicted of the offence of having committed contempt of Court and for this reason he has the right to file an appeal against his conviction.

7. The fourth objection is that the appeal has been filed by the state and is, therefore, incompetent. The memorandum of appeal shows that the appellant is P. D. Gaur and the memorandum of appeal at the end is signed by the Assistant Advocate General and public Prosecutor. Haryana. It means that the State of Haryana provided its own counsel to the appellant which is not at all objectionable . Even before the learned Single Judge, the appellant was defended by a State counsel. I do not find any thing objectionable in the State providing a contempt petition or for his defence in a contempt petition or for presenting and prosecuting his appeal against conviction if it considers that the officer has not committed any contempt or his conviction is unjustified.

8. There being no force in the preliminary objections raised by the learned counsel for the respondent , I proceed to determine whether any contempt was committed by the appellant.

9. Admitted the stay order passed by Sarkaria, J., on 21st July, 1967 , had extended the pettined for furnishing the bank guarantee till 18th of August , 1967 , and on further extended by two months in the presence of the Advocate for the State and the Departmental Authorities, 18th August 1967, was Friday and it has not been proved n the record that any intimation of the extension of time had been given to the appellant on the 18th August, 1967, or that he had got the information of the order extending the time before he went to the office of the respondent on 22nd August, 1967. The appellant stated that he had no such knowledge of the order extending the time and had gone to the petitioner's office to elicit information whether the time had been further extended on the 18th of August, 1967 , or not. It has been held by the Supreme Court ion Hoshiar Singh v. Gurbachan Singh. AIR 1962 SC 1089 that in the matter of a prohibitory order it was well settled that it was not necessary that the order should have been served upon the party against whom it had been granted in order to justify committal for breach of such an order, complained against had notice of the order aliunde. It was, therefore, necessary for the respondent to prove that the appellant had the information or the knowledge of the extension of the order for furnishing bank guarantee prior to 22nd August, 1967, when he went to the office of the petitioner. This fact not having been proved , the appellant had not disobeyed the order of this Court by going to the office of the petitioner on 22nd August, 1967, and he cannot be said to have committed any ;contempt of Court.

10. For reasons given above this appeal is allowed and the conviction of the appellant is set aside. There will, how ever, be no order as to costs.

Mehar Singh, C.J.

11. I agree.

12. Appeal allowed.


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