1. A prosecution for blackmail had been started in the Court of a learned Magistrate at Delhi. After the first witness the complain-ant, had been examined in chief, counsel for the accused made the following statement:
'At. this stage counsel for the accused Shri Radha Kishan, addressed the witness holding some photos numbering 1 to 16 in envelop marked 'A' to withdraw the case In the interest of the witness' family, otherwise it will be bad for the family of the witness, i.e., against the interest of the family of the witness'.
As the case is one which is still under appeal I do not propose to say anything about it lest it may interfere in the course of Justice. But it cannot be said that the words uttered by the counsel appearing for the accused, i.e., respondent, did not tend to intimidate the witness and to more or less borce him to withdraw the case. I therefore, issued a rule to counsel why he should not be dealt with for contempt.
2. Counsel appearing for the respondent sub-mits that it was never his Intention to act in any improper manner. I examined the respondent In Court and he has reiterated that he never intended to do anything which was likely to interfere with the course of justice, nor had he any intention to intimidate the witness or to force him to withdraw the criminal matter which he had brought in the Court of the Magistrate.
3. It must be made clear that a counsel is not exempt from the ordinary disability which the law imposes and his position is not inviolable and his privileges cannot extend to interfere with the administration of justice. On the other hand he is expected to Help in subserving the course of justice and not to impede it in any manner.
4. In Smith v. Lakeman. (1856) 26 LJ Ch 305 (A) an unsigned letter was sent by & plaintiff to the defendant with the object of intimidating in the defence of his case. The letter warned the defendant that should the case pending in the Chancery Division proceed to judgment, he (the defendant) would be indicted for swindling, perjury and forgery and thus bring disgrace on his family. Stuart V. C. held this to be a case of contempt and remarked that the letter amounted to a threat for the purpose of intimidating the suitor, and therefore, whether it had had that effect or not, was unquestionably a contempt of Court.
5. This case was followed by the Allahabad High Court in Rajindra Singh v. Uma Prashad, ILR 57 All 573: (AIR 1935 All 117) (B), by a Bench consisting of Sulaiman C. J. and Harries J. There an Advocate during the pendency of a suit sent a notice on behalf of his client to the defendant threatening him that unless he withdrew the plea & paid a certain sum as damages he would be prosecuted criminally for defamation of the plaintiff's deceased father. The Bench held that the Advocate who drafted and sent the notice on behalf of the plaintiff was liable in contempt. The Allahabad High Court in an earlier case decided by Stuart J., Allu v. Emperor. AIR 1923 All 193 (2) (C), held that an accused person who during the hearing of a case makes an impertinent threat to a witness in the box commits an offence under Section 228 I.P.C.
6. In the present case I am satisfied from the language that the words are capable of being threat or intimidation to the witness but coun-sel has explained that the respondent never meant to intimidate the witness and on the other hand his object was to bring about an amicable settlement between the complainant and the accused and that he conducted himself throughout with the object of saving the family of the complainant from any exposure which they might have been subject to if the case had proceeded. It may be that the respondent acted in a manner which he should not have acted in and I accept. his statement that it was never his intention to interfere with the course of justice. In paragraph 6 of his affidavit before me he has stated:
'I tender my most respectful unqualified and sincere apology to this Hon'ble Court for the incident of the 10th of October, 1955, and beg to assure this Hon'ble Court of my most respectful duty to assist in the administration of justice.' This is a fair attitude to take, and I do not think any action is called for. I have no doubt that Advocates appearing in Courts will be more circumspect and not give an impression that they are trying to do their duty with an overdose of enthusiasm.
7. In the result I dismiss this petition anadischarge the rule. There will be no order as tocosts.