Gopal Singh, J.
1. This is a case of contempt under Section 3 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1952 against Shri Harbhaj Hani, Ex-M. L. A., Punjab. The proceedings have been initiated at the instance of Sim T. N. Gupta, Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class, Hoshiarpur.
2. Arguments were heard by Shri T. N. Gupta on January 15, 1968 in the following two cross cases pending in his Court:
(i) Case No. 195/2 entitled as State v. Santu and Ors. under Section 326 read with Section 34, Indian Penal Code.
(ii) Case No. 218/2 entitled as Tarsem v. Faqir and Ors. under Section 325 read with Section 34, Indian Penal Code.
3. In case No. (i), Smti. Mango is the complainant while in case No. (ii), she is art-accused person. After hearing the arguments, the cases were adjourned for pronouncement of judgments to the following day on January 16, 1968.
4. At 9-15 A. M. on January 16, 1908, Shri Harbhaj Ram, the contemner visited the house of the Magistrate. He sent in a chit written in his own handwriting bearing the following words:
Harbhaj Ram, M. L. A. (R)
5. That chit has in original been annexed to the complaint forwarded by the Magistrate against the contemner. It is stated in the complaint that the contemner contacted him at his residence on behalf of the complainant in case No. (i) and accused in case No. (ii) and that the contemner represented that Smti. Mango was related to him as his maleuri. The Magistrate further states that the contemner tried to influence him in giving his judgments in favour of Smti. Mango.
6. In his reply, the contemner has admitted that the chit is written in his handwriting and he sent that chit at 9-15 A. M-on January 16, 1968, when he called on the Magistrate at his residence, that it was a courtesy call, that the Magistrate did not come out after the receipt of the chit, that he went inside the house of the Magistrate and told him that he should not feel hesitant in meeting public men, that the Magistrate got annoyed over it and began insulting him, that he protested against his behaviour and that Smti. Mango is not his relation (maleuri). The contemner further states that he did not tell the Magistrate to show any favour to the complainant in giving his judgments in the two cross cases. At the end of his reply, he has stated that he regrets the meeting with the Magistrate and that with the feeling of repentance, he tenders his unqualified apology and places himself at the mercy of the Court and assures the Court that he would always uphold the dignity of the Court.
7. The contemner has thus admitted not only the sending in of the chit but also admits to have visited the Magistrate. There is no difference between the facts given in the complaint and those stated in reply by the contemner as to the latter having visited the house of the former at 9-15 A.M. on January 16, 1968, the date fixed for pronouncement of judgments in the two cases in which the Magistrate had heard the arguments on the preceding date. According to the contemner, the call was a courtesy call. According to the Magistrate, the contemner approached him soliciting him for giving judgments in both the cases in favour or Smti. Mango represented by the conternner to be his relation. It is also admitted in reply by the conternner that when he sent the chit in, the Magistrate did not come out to see him and the contemner himself went into the house and pointed out to the Magistrate that he should not have fought shy of meeting public men and that the Magistrate got annoyed and insulted him.
8. There could be a courtesy call on the part of the contemner to a Magistrate, who was either his relation or his friend or to an administrative officer in any way connected with the contemner in his capacity as an M. L. A. After the separation of judiciary from the executive by the enforcement of the Punjab Separation of Judicial and Executive Functions Act, .1954, judicial Magistrates no longer deal with the matters of executive or administrative character and public men like M.L.As. have nothing to do with them. The underlying principle of that Act is to keep apart and far away Judicial Magistrates and other judicial officers from extraneous approach and executive influence of any kind whatsoever.
9. If in spite of the contemner having sent his chit to the Magistrate, the latter did not want to respond to his call, he had no business to go into the interior of his residential house and to pick up controversy, as he alleges, in order to compel him to see public men like him. It appears that the facts stated by the Magistrate are true. The contemner wanted to exploit his status as an M. L. A. as he described himself in his own handwriting in the chit by specifically referring to the Reserve Constituency of Banga from which he was elected as an M. L. A. and to influence the judgments to be given by the Magistrate in favour of Smt. Mango, in whom he was interested. It could not be sheer co-incidence that his visit came off on January 16, 1968 in the morning just before the commencement of the Court hours after the arguments were over on the preceding date of January 15, 1968 and the judgments were to be pronounced in the above two cases on January 16, 1968. The contemner has in a luke-warm manner denied that Smt. Mango is his relation as maleuri. It is a distant relationship. He seems to have adopted that word of distant relationship just as a pretext of showing interest and yet in case of difficulty as it has arisen in the present case to deny such distant relationship.
10. It is not the case of the contemner that the Magistrate had any grudge or ill feeling against him. There is no reason why in cross-cases pending before him and fixed for pronouncement of judgments, he should falsely implicate the contemner for interference with the course of justice. If the contemner were as innocent as he claims to be, the question stares in his face as to why without any rhyme or reason should the Magistrate blame or involve him for this misconduct of seeking favour in the two cases pending before him and thereby influencing the course of justice. I fail to understand why should the Magistrate condemn the contemner for his culpable conduct of interfering with the administration of justice unless either it is a fact or he has some kind of malice or animosity in his mind against the contemner. Not even the remotest suggestion has been made on behalf of the contemner although I asked a specific question from the contemner and his counsel appearing before me in Court as to why should the Magistrate cook up a case of his influencing the Magistrate to secure the two judgments in favour of a given party.
11. The point of difference between the two has been narrowed down by the admission of the contemner about his meeting the Magistrate at his house after a chit had been sent in by him. The question to be determined is whether the visit by the contemner to the house of the Magistrate could be a visit of courtesy call or it was a visit for seeking favour and influencing his mind by virtue of his status as an M.L.A. in the two cases fixed for pronouncement of judgments on the date of the visit. The facts and circumstances detailed above are vocal that the purpose of his visit was not so harmless and innocuous as he now feigns it to be by raising the plea of the visit being a visit of courtesy call. As unequivocally asserted by the Magistrate, the contemner approached the Magistrate for having the cases decided in favour of Smt. Mango.
12. The practice of courtesy calls on the part of the legislators and on the part of other public men and men of influence or executive authorities made to the judicial officers should be condemned and discontinued. In order that judicial officers may not be rendered amenable to external influences and may function without fear or favour, this practice of courtesy calls on judicial officers deserves to be tabood and banned. The sooner this sinister practice stops the better it is. It is under the garb or pretext of courtesy calls that the persons making those courtesy calls exploit the opportunities of seeking favour in pending cases and thereby influencing the course of -justice. In order that the fountain of justice may flow unsullied, the legislators in particular and the public men in general should refrain from making any courtesy calls on the judicial officers. Such a restraint exercised on their part will prove contributory towards judicial. impartiality and be conducive to the independence of the judiciary.
13. The contemner has, in his reply, expressed his feeling of repentance for approach to the Magistrate, tendered unqualied apology and placed himself at the mercy of the Court. Taking into consideration his reprehensible conduct, it is not a fit case for his being let off by his apology being accepted. That regretful expression of repentance can be taken as an extenuating circumstance in awarding sentence.
14. For the foregoing reasons, I hold the contemner guilty of offence under Section 3 of the Contempt of Courts Act and fine him Rs. 300,00. In default of payment of fine, he will suffer simple imprisonment for one month.