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The State Vs. Darshan Singh Gobind Singh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1968CriLJ1259
AppellantThe State
RespondentDarshan Singh Gobind Singh
Cases ReferredState of Madhya Pradesh v. Revashankar
Excerpt:
.....constitutes contempt of court. hag described this kind of contempt as 'scandalising a court or a judge' judges and courts no doubt are open to criticism, and if reasonable argument for expostulation is offered against any judicial act as contrary to law or the public good, no court could or would treat that as contempt of court, but the statement which was made by darshart singh respondent could not conceivably be desorbed as a mere criticism of this sort. das speaking for the court that- while judges and courts are not beyond criticism and there are well-recognized limits to such criticism, and contempt proceedings are not meant to shield judges from personal in. the true test, therefore, is the act complained of, an offence under section 228 of the indian penal code, or something..........of court' lord hardwicke l.c. hag described this kind of contempt as 'scandalising a court or a judge' judges and courts no doubt are open to criticism, and if reasonable argument for expostulation is offered against any judicial act as contrary to law or the public good, no court could or would treat that as contempt of court, but the statement which was made by darshart singh respondent could not conceivably be desorbed as a mere criticism of this sort. it was a flagrant and open attack on the judge himself, besides being extremely insulting. the power of the high court under the contempt of courts act 1952 (act 32 of 1952), hereinafter called the act is as follows:3 (1) subject to the provision of sub-section (2) every high court shall have and exercise the same jurisdiction,.....
Judgment:

Shamsher Bahadur, J.

1. The Judge, Small Cause Court. Amritear, has moved this Court to take proceedings against the respondent Darshan Singh for Contempt of Court under the provisions of Section 3 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1952.

2. la the suit filed by the respondent against the Municipal Committee, Amritear, evidence had been concluded and arguments were being heard by the learned Judge on the 16th of November 1966 when the respondent is said to have made a statement in Court that the Presiding Judge had colluded with the Municipal Committee and had accepted the 'safarash' made by its officers. The respondent want to the extent of deciding that he would write to the President of India about this matter as he entertained no hope of obtaining justice. The respondent did not hesitate to make accusation that the 'safarash' or recommendation had been received by the Court in his presence. The respondent readily signed the statement which he made in Court to this effect on the 16th of November, 1966 and there can thus be no manner of doubt that he actually stated in Court that the Presiding Officer was going to decide the case in favour of the municipality at the behest of its officer. Statements of both the counsel for the plaintiff and the defendant were thereafter recorded by the Presiding Judge. Mr. Uhaman Lal Arora, the counsel for the respondent, stated that in his presence his client had made the statement containing derogatory remarks against the Court and this statement had actually been recorded as statement of the 'plaintiff' in Court. Likewise the municipal counsel made the statement that the 'plaintiff' had made derogatory remarks which had been recorded in the form of a statement in Court. After the statements of Darshan Singh and the parties' counsel had been recorded, the Presiding Officer forwarded the case to this Court to take appropriate action against Darshin Singh, making his own observation that he had no desire to decide the suit on account of the imputation which had been openly made by the respondent.

3. The respondent was given notice of these proceedings for contempt and he has not chosen to appear himself or be represented through counsel. The statement made by Darshan Singh respondent clearly constitutes contempt of Court. As observed by Lord Russell of Killowen C. J. in The Queen v. Gray (1900) 2 QBD 36, 'Any act done or writing published calculated to bring a Court or a judge of the Court into contempt or to lower his authority, is a contempt of Court' Lord Hardwicke L.C. hag described this kind of contempt as 'scandalising a Court or a judge' Judges and Courts no doubt are open to criticism, and if reasonable argument for expostulation is offered against any judicial act as contrary to law or the public good, no Court could or would treat that as contempt of Court, But the statement which was made by Darshart Singh respondent could not conceivably be desorbed as a mere criticism of this sort. It was a flagrant and open attack on the Judge himself, besides being extremely insulting. The power of the High Court under the Contempt of Courts Act 1952 (Act 32 of 1952), hereinafter called the Act is as follows:

3 (1) Subject to the provision of Sub-section (2) every High Court shall have and exercise the same jurisdiction, powers and authority, in accordance with the same procedure and practice, in respect of contempt's of Courts sub-ordinate to it as it has and exercises in respect of contempt of itself.

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

The statement made by the respondent constituting a clear insult to the Court is punishable also under Section 228 of the Indian Penal Code, which says-

Whoever intentionally offers any insult...to any public servant, while such public servant is sitting in any stage of a judicial proceeding, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with line which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

Is this Court, therefore, precluded from deciding whether this matter falls under Sub-section (2) of Section 3 of Act?

4. A Division Bench of the High Court of Madhya Bharat had taken the view that Sub-section (2) of Section 3 of the Act ousted the jurisdiction of the High Court in respect of contempt's committed by subordinate Courts when the acts constituting contempt could be taken cognizance of under the Indian Penal Code. The Supreme Court in the State of Madhya Pradesh v. Revashankar (1959) SCR 1867, reversed this view and it was held that the mere existence of an element of insult in the alleged act of contempt was not conclusive as to the applicability of Section 228 of the Indian Penal Code so as to oust the jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 3(2) of the Act. It was observed by Mr. Justice S.K. Das speaking for the Court that-

While Judges and Courts are not beyond criticism and there are well-recognized limits to such criticism, and contempt proceedings are not meant to shield Judges from personal in. salts, there can be no question that where defamatory aspersions are cast upon the character and ability of individual Judges or of Courts in general, which in substance scandalize the Court itself and have the effect of undermining the confidence of the public in it and thus hinder due administration of justice, the contempt is of a kind which exceeds the limits of Section 223 of the Indian Penal Code.

The true test, therefore, is the act complained of, an offence under Section 228 of the Indian Penal Code, or something more than that? If it is something more, the jurisdiction of the High Court is not ousted by Section 3(2) of the Contempt of Courts Act.

So judged, there could be no doubt that the aspersions cast in the present case amounted to scandalizing the Court itself, and were no mere-personal insult, and the High Court had jurisdiction to take cognizance o the same.

Viewed in the perspective of the Supreme Court authority there can be no manner of doubt that Darshan Singh respondent not only insulted the Presiding Judge by casting aspersions on his integrity, but scandalized the Court itself by saying that the Judge had succumbed to the recommendations which had been made by the officers of the municipality. To add insult to injury he said that he was going to make a written complaint about this matter to the President of India, He appended his signature on the statement in which all these matters are reproduced and even his counsel could say nothing for him in respect of the derogatory remarks made by him in open Court. Darshan Singh is, therefore, clearly guilty of contempt of Court and the statement made by him, which he made no attempt to justify or mitigate either before the Presiding Officer or in this Court, clearly calls for a deterrent sentence. Holding Darshan Singh guilty of content pt of the Judge, Small Causes Court, I sentence him to the maximum term of six months nipple imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 200 under Section 4 of the Act and in default 2 months' imprisonment.


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