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inderjit Singh Vs. Raj Kumar Gupta and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1968CriLJ1527
Appellantinderjit Singh
RespondentRaj Kumar Gupta and anr.
Cases ReferredKrishna Chandra v. Emperor
Excerpt:
.....facts constituting the offence, with the statement (if any) made by the offender, as well as the finding and sentence. the nature of the interruption and insult has also been clearly set out in the resolution. this is a matter on merits and cannot be gone into in a petition like this under art, 227 of the constitution the only question for consideration here is whether the order of the learned magistrate is legal, or whether he has exceeded his jurisdiction in setting aside the order of the panchayat and remitting the fine imposed on respondent 2 ? in this respect the first case on which the learned counsel for respondent 2 relies is davendra nath v. the learned sessions judge hearing the appeal remarked that the principle that a man must be heard before he is condemned had no..........of the panchayat and threw mud on the members thus insulting them.2. section 228 of the penal code provides-whoever intentionally offers any insult, or causes any interruption 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 fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both.section 13 of punjab act 4 of 1958 reads -79 (1). the provisions of sections 480 to 482 of the criminal p. c., 1898 shall apply to judicial proceedings under this act:provided that, the fine imposed for contempt of court shall not exceed twenty-five rupees.(2). the provisions of sections 512, 517 and 522 of the criminal p. c., 1898, shall apply to criminal.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Mehar Singh, J.

1. The Panchayat of village Jamitgarh was on February 8, 1965, with Inderjit Singh Sarpanch presiding and quorum complete, seized of a case against Sarwan Singh Respondent 2 under Section 21 of the Punjab Gram Panchayat Act, 1952 (Punjab Act 4 of 1958), for encroachment on a thoroughfare, and when they announced their decision in the case, Respondent 2 started abusing them and throwing challenges that he would see how and who was going to make him vacate the land with him. The Panchayat tried to explain the matter to him and to make him understand what the position was, but he even then abused them. In this manner Respondent 2 interrupted the proceedings of the Panchayat and threw mud on the members thus insulting them.

2. Section 228 of the Penal Code provides-

Whoever intentionally offers any insult, or causes any interruption 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 fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both.

Section 13 of Punjab Act 4 of 1958 reads -

79 (1). The provisions of Sections 480 to 482 of the Criminal P. C., 1898 shall apply to judicial proceedings under this Act:

Provided that, the fine imposed for contempt of Court shall not exceed twenty-five rupees.(2). The provisions of Sections 512, 517 and 522 of the Criminal P. C., 1898, shall apply to criminal proceedings before a Panchayat, and if any order made by a Panchayat in relation to Sections 517 and 522 of the Criminal P. C., 1898, is not complied with, the panchayat shall forward the same to the nearest magistrate who shall proceed to execute it as if it were an order passed by himself.

Sections 480 and 481 of the Criminal P. C., are-

480. (1) When any such offence as is described in Section 175, Section 178, Section 179; Section 180, or Section 228 of the Penal Code is committed in the view or presence of any Civil, Criminal or Revenue Court, the Court may cause the offender to be detained in custody; and at any time before the rising of the Court on the same day may, if it thinks fit, take cognizance of the offence and sentence the off(sic) to fine not exceeding two hundred rupees, and, in default of payment, to simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one mouth, unless such fine be sooner paid. * *

481. (1) In every such case the Court shall record the facts constituting the offence, with the statement (if any) made by the offender, as well as the finding and sentence.

(2) If the offence is under Section 228 of the Penal Code, the record shall show the nature and stage of the judicial proceeding in which the Court interrupted or insulted was sitting and the nature of the interruption or insult.

So Sections 480 and 481, [Criminal P. C. apply to judicial proceedings before a Panchayat under Punjab Act 4 of 1958, but by proviso to Sub-section (1 of Section 79 of this Act the maximum amount of fine is limited to Rs. 25/-. Where an offence tinder Section 223 of the Penal Code is committed in the view or presence of a Court, it may cause the offender to be detained in custody and then proceed against him in accordance with Section 480 and the following Section 431 of the Criminal P. C.

3. The resolution, Annexnre A, to the petition of the Sarpanch-petitioner under Article 227 of the Constitution, gives in detail the facts as have been stated above. After the Panchayat had decided the case against respondent 2, the latter abused them. When the Panchayat tried to make him understand the matter, he did not allow them to proceed bat further abused them. Not only that he threw mud on the members of the Panchayat also. So the Panchayat convicted respondent 2 for the offence of Contempt of Court under Section 228 of the Penal Code, proceeding under S 79 of Punjab Act 4 of 1958 and Sections 480 and 431 of the Criminal P. C., and sentenced him to a fine of Rs. 26/-. Against that respondent 2 made an application to the District Magistrate under Section 51 of Punjab Act 4 of 1953. which was heard and disposed of by Mr. Raj Kumar Gupta. Judicial Magistrate of the First Class, respondent 1, on August 27, 1965. The learned Magistrate set aside the conviction and sentence of respondent 2 on the ground that 'no notice to show cause was issued to the petitioner (respondent 2) before the fine was imposed.'

4. It is against the order of the learned Magistrate that the petitioner Sarpanch has filed this petition under Article 227 of the Constitution. The grounds given in the petition are that in the case of an offence of contempt committed in the view or presence of the Court, having regard to the provisions of Sections 480 and 481 of the Criminal P. C., the giving of show-cause notice to respondent 2 was neither absolute nor mandatory, that the Panchayat could rely on its opinion of what happened and proceed to punish the offender, and that the Panchayat asked respondent 2 to desist from his conduct but he (sic) no heed and continued to filthily abuse and (sic)rrupt their proceedings. A return has been filed to the petition by respondent 2 in which he has denied that there was any proper quorum of the Panchayat or that they were conducting judicial proceedings on that day when he appeared before them. He has also denied that be abused the Panchayat or threw mud on the members. He has stated that this case was made against him by the Panchayat on account of enmity with the petitioner-Sarpanch.

5. The requirements of Sub-section (1) of Section 481 of the Criminal P. C. are (a) that facts constituting the offence have to be stated by the Court, (b) that the statement (if any) made by the offender has to be recorded, and (c) that the finding and sentence have to be stated. This the Court is enjoined to record and obviously this is mandatory. In addition, it the offence is under Section 228 of the Penal Code, then according to Sub-section (2) of this section, the record has to show further (d) the nature and stage of the judicial proceedings in which the Court so interrupted or insulted was sitting, and (e) the nature of the interruption or insult. So the record must, in a case under Section 228 of the Penal Code, where contempt of Court is committed in the view or presence of the Court, comply with those five conditions.

In this case the facts constituting the offence under Section 228 of the Penal Code are stated in the resolution of the Panchayat. Its finding and sentence given to respondent 2 on that have also been recorded. The stage at which respondent 2 interrupted the judicial proceedings and abused and insulted the Panchayat is also recorded. The nature of the interruption and insult has also been clearly set out in the resolution. There remains for consideration only one ingredient and that is the second, whether the statement (if any) made by respondent 2 was or was not taken The learned Magistrate while considering the proceedings of the Panchayat under Section 51 of Punjab Act 4 of 1953 was of the opinion that no show-cause notice was given by the Panchayat for the offence alleged against respondent 2, and so on that account alone respondent 2's conviction and sentence could not be maintained. The learned Counsel for the petitioner-Sarpanch contends that in this the learned Magistrate has made an erroneous approach to the facts of the case, because in the resolution of the Panchayat itself it is stated that when respondent 2 started abusing them and throwing challenges to the members to seek compliance of their order, they tried to explain to him what were the circumstances and what was being done, but respondent 2, instead of listening to them, further abused them and threw mud on them. The learned Counsel points out that while the Panchayat made every effort to make respondent 2 understand the substance and nature of his conduct and its effect, in other words, the nature of the offence ho was committing, he did not allow the members of the Panchayat to do so and rather persisted in his conduct in abusing them and throwing mud on them. The learned Counsel presses that in the circumstances, to say that respondent 2 has not been given an opportunity to give his answer to the facts constituting the offence of which he has been convicted is not correct.

On the side of respondent 2 it has first been pointed oat by the learned Counsel that his affidavit shows that the Panchayat was conducting no judicial proceedings on that particular day and farther that respondent 2 never abused them. He was in fact involved in the case because of his enmity with the petitioner-Sirpanch. This is a matter on merits and cannot be gone into in a petition like this under Art, 227 of the Constitution The only question for consideration here is whether the order of the learned Magistrate is legal, or whether he has exceeded his jurisdiction in setting aside the order of the Panchayat and remitting the fine imposed on respondent 2 In this respect the first case on which the learned Counsel for respondent 2 relies is Davendra Nath v. Emperor ILR (1948) 2 Cal 50, in which there was prosecution for an offence under Section 228 of the Penal Code because of interruption caused to a Magistrate at the time he was doing judicial work, but there it was not the very Court before whom the offence had been committed that proceeded against the contemner under Section 480 and 481 of the Criminal P. C. A complaint was made to another Court and it was that other Court which tried the contemner for the offence under S 228 of the Penal Code, which was a summons case, and it was in those circumstances that the learned Judge pointed out that Section 242 of the Criminal P. C. demands that the accused should be apprised of what exactly his offence is. In that case the provisions of that section had not been complied with. Obviously that case has no bearing on the facts of the present case.

The other case to which the learned Counsel for respondent 2 has made reference is Krishna Chandra v. Emperor AIR 1923 Cal 562. That was a case of an offence under Section 228 of the Penal Code committed in the view and presence of a Magistrate who proceeded to sentence the contemner to a fine of Rs. 50. In appeal the argument was that the order passed by the Magistrate was illegal and without jurisdiction inasmuch as the contemner was not called upon to make a statement and no statement was as a matter of fact recorded as required by Section 481 of the Criminal P. C. The learned Sessions Judge hearing the appeal remarked that the principle that a man must be heard before he is condemned had no application to such cases where special procedure has been provided by express law. The learned Judges, exercising revisional jurisdiction, did not agree with that opinion of the Sessions Judge, and, with reference to the words 'if any' as appearing in Sub-section (1) of Section 481 of the Criminal P. C. they observed- 'All that the expression 'if any' indicates is that the Court cannot compel the accused to make a statement but it cannot mean that it should not give him an opportunity to make a statement.' This case does not help respondent 2 because in the facts of the present case even when the members of the Panchayat tried to explain the position and circumstances of what respondent 2 was doing he did not permit them to do go, rather he further abused them and threw mud on them. 80 that Krishna Chandra Bhomick's case AIR 1923 Cal 562 is different on facts from the present case.

No doubt Sub-section (1) of Section 481 of the Criminal P. C. takes into account the recording of state. ment of the offender, if he makes one, which obviously can only be when he has the opportunity to make such a statement. However, as in the present case, if the opportunity is there, but instead of making any statement the offender further abuses and throws mud, as respondent 2 is said to have done in so far as the Panchayat was concerned, an argument is not admissible on his side that he had no opportunity to make a statement in answer to the charge made against him or that his statement was not taken. It is in this approach that the order of the learned Magistrate cannot be upheld and has to be found to have been made in excess of his jurisdiction.

6. 80 this petition by the petitioner Sarpanch is accepted, and the order dated August 27, 1965, of the Magistrate is quashed, with a direction that he will now proceed to dispose of the application of respondent 2 under Section 51 of Punjab Act 4 of 1953 on merits and in accordance with law. There is no order in regard to costs.


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