Tek Chand, J.
1. This matter relates to contempt of Court alleged to have been committed by Shri Om Parkash, Sub-Judge First Class, Jagadhri, on 20th of November, 1958, in relation to the Court of Shri Gurdial Singh, Judicial Magistrate, Jagadhri. The complainant in this case is Jawand Singh of village Naharpur in Jagadhri Tehsil. A brief resume of the proceedings before the 20th of November, 1958, the alleged date of the commission of the contempt of Court is necessary for understanding the import oJ these proceedings.
2. Jawand Singh P.W. 1 had filed a criminal complaint on 6th of October, 1958, in the Court of S. Gurdial Singh Judicial Magistrate against one Shri Budhwar, Executive Engineer, West Jamna Canal, Dadupur, and Shri Raj Kumar Kapur, Sub-Divisional Officer, Dadupur, under Sections 352, 341, 500 and 506, Indian Penal Code. Some time in February, 1958, Jawant Singh was present in the Rest House, Jagadhri, when sand was being auctioned He claimed to be one of the bidders out the bid terminated in favour of one Krishan Lal for Sections 250/-.
It was said that some time later in the month of February, 1958, the sand was said to have been sold to one Pran Nath Lamba for Rs. 306/-. Jawand Singh thought that this transaction was not honest and Messrs. Kapur and Budhwar wanted to favour someone in whom they were interested. Ja-wand Singh is said to have offered to purchase that sand from them for Rs. 400/- but they declined to sell it to him. He then made a written representation to the Punjab Government, Irrigation Department, in May, 1958, complaining that the sale of the sand had not been conducted in an honest manner by Messrs. Budhwar and Kapur.
As he had not heard anything in answer to his first complaint to the Government, he made another complaint which was addressed to the Chief Minister, Punjab, and on this an inquiry was held by an Inspector of the Anti-Corruption Department, While this inquiry was pending, Dhian Singh Chowkidar of the Canal Rest House Jagadhri, went to his village on 4th of October, 1948, in the afternoon telling him that he was wanted by Messrs. Budhwar and Kapur. He accompanied the chowkidar, reaching Jamna Nagar at about 4 p.m.
They were seen coming in a car which was stopped by Dhian Singh chowkidar and on being told that Jawand Singh had come, they got down and asked Jawand Singh that he should withdraw his complaint against them, but Jawand Singh replied that he would not do so as he had made true allegations. Budhwar is said to have threatened Jawand Singh and he also demanded an apology from him. Jawand Singh then stated that Budhwar caught hold of him and raised his fist to strike him but some people intervened.
They then left him but said in a threatening manner that unless he withdrew his application he would be running great risk to his life and property, All this took place in a chowk near a fountain in Jamna Nagar.
3. Jawand Singh filed a complaint on 6th of October, 1958, in the Court of S. Gurdial Singh Magistrate. It was mentioned in the complaint that the incident had been witnessed by Brij Lal, Jagat Ram and Krishan Lal Manocha. These three persons have appeared as P.Ws. 2, 5 and 4 respectively in these proceedings. The Magistrate had summoned the two accused, and 20th of November, 1958, was a date of hearing in that case. He along with his abovenamed witnesses had gone to the Court of the Magistrate on that date.
At about 11-30 a.m., according to his statement in this Court, Jawand Singh saw the respondent entering the retiring room of the Magistrate From the back side. His suspicions having been aroused, he asked his witnesses to listen to the talk that the respondent was going to have with the Magistrate. P.W. 2 Brij Lal, P.W. 5 Jagat Ram and Jawand Singh P.W. 1 put their ears to the window of the retiring room. One Gian Chand P.W. 6 also came there and he too began to listen to the talk.
4. One Iqbal Singh, Assistant Sub-Inspector, saw them putting their ears to the window. It was said that these witnesses heard the respondent saying to S. Gurdial Singh that no charge should be Framed against Budhwar and Kapur as they were his men and he should not record such statements of the prosecution witnesses as would go to implicate them. Jawand Singh stated that he did not hear anything else and the Magistrate did not make any reply.
He said that he then saw the respondent coming out of the retiring room and the Magistrate then returned to his Court room which adjoined the retiring room. Jawand Singh then entered the Court room of the Magistrate and told him that the respondent had approached him on behalf of the two accused persons, and that, therefore, he had lost faith in the Magistrate and wanted to apply For the transfer of his case from that Court, The Magistrate is said to have replied that Jawand Singh could go and bring an application for transfer if he so desired.
5. Jawand Singh then went to his counsel Shri Chandu Lal and told him what had happened. The counsel suggested that he should get the application drafted from a petition writer. The talk with the counsel took place in the Court compound and Jawand Singh then accompanied with P.Ws, Brij Lal, Gian Chand, Jagat Ram and A.S.I. Iqbal Singh went to Harbans Lal Kapur petition writer.
An application for transfer was drafted by the petition writer in Urdu; and it was mentioned in it, that the Sub-Judge was heard talking to the Magistrate that he should not take any action against the accused persons as he had intimate relations with them, and the facts which might come to light against the accused persons while recording the evidence, should not be reduced to writing and that no charge should be framed against them. It was also stated that he and the other persons named above had over-heard this conversation when they had put their ears against the window of the retiring room,
6. Besides this application, the petition writer at the same time also prepared five affidavits of Jawand Singh, Gian Chand, Jagat Ram, A.S.I, Iqbal Singh and Brij Lal. These affidavits have been exhibited by me as P.1 to P.5 respectively. The affidavits are in support of the petition of transfer and refer to the words attributed to the respondent. According to Jawand Singh, these affidavits and the transfer application were drafted by 1 p.m. and he and his witnesses along with Shri Chandu Lal, his Advocate, went to the Court of the Naib Tehsildar, Shri Kishan Sarup R.W. 3, but learnt that he had gone away to take his lunch.
When he returned after lunch, the affidavits were attested by the Naib Tehsildar. Shri Chandu Lal Advocate had identified the persons making the affidavits. According to Jawand Singh it was about 2-30 or 3 p.m. that he presented the transfer application along with the affidavits to S. Gurdial Singh Magistrate, and the criminal case was called at the same time by the Magistrate. According to P.W. 7 S. Gurdial Singh, the application for transfer along with the affidavits was filed by the complainant before the criminal case was taken up. The Magistrate then gave a date for appearance before the Sessions Judge.
7. At about 4 p.m. an application was made by Jawand Singh in the Court of S. Gurdial Singh praying that the High Court should be moved to take appropriate action against the respondent under the Contempt of Courts Act. This application is typed in English and is Exhibit P. 9. On this application, the Magistrate passed the following order which is Exhibit P.9/A :
'Presented at 4 p.m. today by Shri Jawand Singh. Place on file. The case has already been adjourned. To come up tomorrow.'
8. Jawand Singh was subjected to lengthy cross-examination during the course of which he stated that on seeing the respondent enter the retiring room of the Magistrate his suspicions had been aroused as he had seen Budhwar and Kapur visiting the respondent. Jawand Singh, however, admitted that there was no reference in his transfer application, Exhibit P. 10, or in his affidavit, Exhibit P. 1, or in the application for taking contempt proceedings, Exhibit P. 9, to his having seen Budhwar and Kapur with the respondent at any time before 20th of November, 1958. Jawand Singh also stated that he had seen the respondent coming alone into the retiring room but he could neither sec the respondent, or the Magistrate inside but ho could hear the talk as he had leaned against the window-gauge in order to listen to what was being said.
He also said that two of his witnesses stood in front of the window and the other two leaned against the wall near the window. He also stated that at the time of the filing of the transfer application he alone was in the Court. He denied the suggestion made by the respondent's counsel that his applications and affidavits were prepared in consultation with S. Gurdial Singh Magistrate, Shri H. P. Tikku Prosecuting Sub-Inspector, Shri Chandu Lal Advocate and one Shri Balwant Rai Sapra. He also denied the suggestion that the affidavits were attested by the Naib Tehsildar after 4 p.m.
9. P.W. 2 Brij Lal, P.W. 5 Jagat Ram and P.W. 6 Gian Chand have deposed that they saw the respondent entering the retiring room and they overheard what the respondent had told the Magistrate.
10. P.W. 3 is Shri Chandu Lal Advocate of Jagadhri who has stated that at about 12 noon on 20th of November, 1958, Jawand Singh accompanied by four others had come to him and told him that the Magistrate had been approached by Shri Om Parkash, Sub-Judge, Jagadhri, and had conveyed to him his desire of getting the criminal case transferred to some other Court. They had also told him how they had overheard what the respondent had said. He then directed Jawand Singh to get the application and the affidavits drafted by a petition writer.
Later on he accompanied them to the Naib Tehsildar who attested the affidavits after lunch. He also went inside the Court when the criminal case against Budhwar and Kapur was called in the Court of the Magistrate.
11. P.W. 4 Shri Kishan Lal Manocha had deposed to the incident outside Chowk Fawara between Jawand Singh and the two accused.
12. S. Gurdial Singh Magistrate has appeared as P.W. 7 in this case and in a lengthy statement he said that his relations with the respondent were cordial and they were on visiting terms. He referred to contempt proceedings in another case which were instituted at the instance of the respondent against certain persons other than the Magistrate. The High Court had issued notice to the Magistrate as well to show cause why he should not be proceeded with for contempt of Court.
The Magistrate said that his relations with the respondent continued to be friendly despite the contempt proceedings in the High Court. I will refer in some detail to this case a little later. The Magistrate also said that he did not know personally Pardhana Ram, Sub-Divisional Officer, who appeared as R.W. 15 in this case, except that he might have met him on some social functions.
13. Regarding the incident of the respondent's visit to his retiring room on 20th of November, 1958, S. Gurdial Singh Magistrate said that the respondent had told him in the retiring room that the accused Budhwar and Kapur in the criminal case instituted on the complaint of Jawand Singh were great friends of his and that he desired the Magistrate to help them by all possible means and also suggested that they should be helped even in the dictation of the prosecution evidence. He was also asked not to frame any charges against them.
The respondent stayed with the Magistrate for about ten minutes. When asked as to what he had told the respondent, the Magistrate replied that he simply heard the respondent as to what be had to say but gave no reply and simply smiled. He also said that some time in the month of October, 1958, the respondent had met the Magistrate and some general enquiries as to the nature of the case against the two accused were made by him. This talk took place at about 5 p.m.
He said that in the retiring room the respondent and he sat close to the window and the respondent was talking quite loudly to enable a man outside the window to hear what was being said as the distance between the outer side of the window and the place where the respondent was sitting was approximately eighteen inches. The Magistrate denied having seen anybody peeping through the window. After the respondent left the reti(sic) room, the Magistrate returned to his Court room and a few minutes later Jawand Singh entered the Court room and expressed a desire to move for the transfer of the case from his Court.
The Magistrate said that no reasons were disclosed by Jawand Singh for seeking transfer of his case. Later in the day, Jawand Singh came accompanied with Shri Chandu Lal Advocate some time before his case was called. The case of Jawand Singh was called at 3 p.m. when Jawand Singh and Shri Chandu Lal were present. The accused with their counsel followed; soon after the accused also presented a written application desiring transfer of the case from his Court, vide Exhibit P. 12.
He said that at that time he also informed the accused that a transfer application had been made by the complainant earlier. The Magistrate asked the accused to file grounds for transfer supporting the transfer application by next day, i.e., 21st of November, 1958, but no such grounds were filed by the accused at all. The Magistrate volunteered that the application for transfer along with the affidavits was filed in his Court by the complainant before the case was taken up.
14. S. Gurdial Singh then said that another application was filed by Jawand Singh at about 4 p.m. on 20th of November, 1958, after the case had already been adjourned. In this application (Exhibit P.9) it was alleged that the respondent had approached the Magistrate at about 11-30 a.m. in his retiring room and requested him to show favour to the two accused persons and the High Court should be moved to take appropriate action for contempt of Court. This application did not give the gist of the talk between the respondent and the Magistrate which had been overheard by Jawand Singh.
The Magistrate denied the suggestion that this was a false case concocted by him in conspiracy with Jawand Singh complainant, Chandu Lal Advocate, P.S.I. Tikku and Balwant Rai Sapra. The Magistrate also denied having met Pardhana Ram, S.D.O., R.W. 15, on 20th of November, 1958, and that he had conveyed no message through him to the respondent. He also denied having made a request to the respondent to see him on 20th of November, 1958, in connection with the case, State v. Girdhari Lal, in which the respondent had been summoned to appear in the Court of the Magistrate on 21st of November, 1958.
Magistrate denied having ever gone to Pardhana Bam to see him, either on 1st of December, 1958, or on any other date. During the course of cross-examination, S. Gurdial Singh said that he did not protest to the respondent when he made an improper suggestion to him in the retiring room because he was a senior colleague and a friend. He did not record any note as to what the respondent had told him on his return to the Court room. He stated that when the transfer application alone with the affidavits was presented by Jawand Singn, the makers of the affidavits, Exhibits- P-1 to P-5, had not come inside but Jawand Singh complainant and his counsel Shri Chandu Lal Advocate alone had come.
15. The other witness produced on behalf of the complainant is P. W. 8 Harbans Singh, Reader of the Court of S. Gurdial Singh. He stated that he saw the respondent alone entering the retiring room of S. Gurdial Singh where he stayed for about ten minutes. He was not in a position to hear what was said to S. Gurdial Singh by the respondent. To the same effect is the statement of P. W. 9 Harbans Singh, orderly to the Judicial Magistrate.
16. P. W. 10 is Shri Makhan Lal Anand, Pleader, who said that it was probably on 24-10-1958, that he was conducting a case in the Court of the respondent and a site had to be inspected. At 5-30 p.m. he had gone to take the respondent but was told that he was with the Judicial Magistrate. He then took a rickshaw there and took him to the site. He said that he was one of the counsel for Messrs. Budhwar and Kapur in the criminal case instituted by Jawand Singh, and the respondent exhorted him to conduct the case on their behalf to the best of his ability as they were Government servants.
In cross-examination he stated that he had not been engaged in the case on behalf of the accused but was only helping their counsel Shri Brij Raj Saran. He admitted that S. Gurdial Singh had obtained his affidavit towards the end of March, 1959, wherein the above facts had been mentioned. He also stated that he had given a tea party to his friends of the Bar and on that occasion the only officers who were invited were S. Gurdial Singh Magistrate and P. S. I. Tikku.
His evidence has no bearing on the incident of 20-11-1958. His evidence has been recorded with a view to show that the respondent had friendly feelings towards the two accused.
17. P. W. 11 is Shri Ved Parkash Pleader who stated that in early November, 1958, he had seen the two accused Budhwar and Kapur and R. W. 15 Pardhana Ram in the retiring room of the respondent. He also stated that on 20-11-1958, at about 11 a.m. he saw the respondent entering the retiring room of the Magistrate. In cross-examination he admitted that on 20-11-1958, he had returned without entering the Magistrate's Court. He was an Oath Commissioner and on a complaint that he had been over-charging, an inquiry was made against him by a Sub-Judge.
The District and Sessions Judge had reported that he had abused his position and recommended his removal, vide Exhibits P. W. 11-A and P. W. 11-B. Shri Harbans Lal Kapur, petition writer, is the maternal-uncle of this witness. He also stated that probably in the first week of April, 1959, at the instance of S. Gurdial Singh he had sworn an affidavit which ho handed over to him.
18. Shri Om Parkash Sub-Judge has denied the allegations made against him. He said that he was not interested in Shri Budhwar and Shri Kapur who were not his friends. He had met them only on some official or public functions. He took no interest in the criminal case on their behalf and never asked the Magistrate that he should help them. He maintained that the allegations made against him were wholly untrue and malicious.
19. According to the respondent, Sardar Gurdial Singh Magistrate was harburing a grudge against him as a result of contempt proceedings which had been started against him and some others a year before and this was a false accusation against him brought with a view to wreak vengeance. He said that in a civil case he had appointed two persons, Jai Parkash and Ram Kishena, as joint Receivers of the partnership business and its assets, on 2-8-1957. Later on Jai Parkash was replaced by Ram Gopal as joint Receiver.
He had taken possession of the records of the business and of other assets in pursuance of his orders. S. Gurdial Singh and some police officers and others had illegally interfered with the possession of the Receivers in October, 1957. The Receivers had made an application before the respondent for taking action for contempt of Court. The Receivers later on had moved the High Court. That case was disposed of by me: Jai Prakash v. Ram Sarup, Criminal Original No. 26 of 1957, on 27-3-1958: (AIR 1958 Punj 471). There were nine respondents, including Sardar Gurdial Singh, Magistrate, who was respondent No. 8 and Chaudhry Ram Dutt Sub-Inspector Police respondent No. 9.
20. In that case Sardar Gurdial Singh had tendered an apology and had said that his conduct, to which exception had been taken, was due to his inexperience and that this was his first appointment. I had expressed the view that in that case the Magistrate's conduct had transgressed the bounds of propriety and had resulted in interferance with the administration, of justice in the Court of the Sub-Judge and that he neither acted reasonably nor without negligence.
I felt, that on the record, I could not hold, that it had been established with any degree of certainty that interference on the part of the Magistrate with the course of justice was deliberate and intentional. I had felt that the Magistrate had fully realised the impropriety and gravity of his conduct and expressed the view that the ends of justice would be served by an expression of disapprobation of his conduct be me and by giving him a winning that the repetition of such a conduct would not be viewed with leniency.
In my view, respondent No. 9, Ch. Ram Dutt, Sub-Inspector, and respondents Nos. 1 to 7 were guilty of contempt of Court in so far as they hail interfered with the Receivers duly appointed by the Sub-Judge.
21. According to the respondent, the proceedings, which resulted in some strictures being passed on Sardar Gurdial Singh, had been the cause of hisbearing grudge against him and that he wanted anopportunity to settle old scores with the SubordinateJudge. It was also suggested by the respondentthat my judgment was published in the PunjabLaw Reporter in the issue of 1st November, 1958:(60 Pun LR 624: (AIR 1958 Punj 471)) and withinthree weeks of its publication the respondent wasgot involved in a false case out of spite and ill-will.
22. The Subordinate Judge also said that in a criminal case, State v. Girdhari Lal, under Sections 279 and 337, Indian Penal Code, which was pending in the Court of Sardar Gurdial Singh, Magistrate, he was summoned as a witness for 21-11-1958. At about 10-30 a.m. a police constable had brought the summons requiring him to appear as a witness in the Magistrate's Court. The summons did not bear any endorsement of the District Judge, permitting the Subordinate Judge to appear as a witness, and had been sent directly and not through the District Judge.
The respondent verbally told the constable that the summons should be served through the District Judge, but after a few minutes, the constable again came desiring him to put down his objections to accepting service, in writing. The Subordinate Judge then wrote his objection, vide R.W. 16/B. Shri O. P. Aggarwal returned in original the summons with the remarks that it should be sent through the District Judge, Ambala, and his prior permission to appear as a witness should be obtained. At about 11 a.m. R. W. 15 Pardhana Ram, S. D. O came to the Subordinate Judge in his Court, while he was busy in a case.
He had come at the instance of a letter issued from the Subordinate Judge's Court in order to discuss repairs to be done to the civil Court buildings. He was given a seat on the dais, and Pardhana Ram told him that ho had brought a message from Sardar Gurdial Singh that he would like to talk to him on a matter of some urgency and that he should make it convenient to see Sardar Gurdial Singh, otherwise Sardar Gurdial Singh would himself come to see the respondent.
On this the Subordinate Judge left his Court accompanied by Shri Pardhana Ram telling the counsel that he would be returning soon. On reaching there both Pardhana Ram and the Subordinate Judge went into the retiring room of the Magistrate. Pardhana Ram had no wish to accompany the Subordinate Judge into the retiring room of the Magistrate, but on the Subordinate Judge telling him that there was nothing private ho also went inside. When the Magistrate entered the retiring room, the Subordinate Judge asked him the reason for calling him, and the Magistrate said that he should appear as a witness without the formality of the summons being sent through the District Judge as in that event he would finish a case which will add to his units.
After some general talk of a casual character both Pardhana Ram and the Subordinate Judge came out of the retiring room and proceeded towards the civil Courts. On the way the matter regarding repairs to be done to the civil Court buildings was discussed. The Subordinate Judge denied having interceded with the Magistrate on behalf of Budh-war or Kapur. The Subordinate Judge said that he went on leave from Jagadhti on 25-11-1958, and till then he was not aware of the fact that the Magistrate had been moved by Jawand Singh for the transfer of his case or for taking proceedings for contempt of Court. He returned to Jagadhri after the termination of his leave on 30-11-1958
On 1-12-1958 the Subordinate Judge received a letter from the High Court along with a copy of the complaint made against him by Sardar Gurdial Singh and he was desired to send his comments on the complaint. He said that he thought over the whole matter and on 2-12-1958, went to Pardhana Ram to remind him that he had accompanied him to the retiring room, on 20-11-1958, and also showed a copy of the complaint which he had received along with the letter from the Registrar of the High Court. He also met the lawyers present in his Court on 20-11-1958, and those who might have seen him going to the Magistrate's retiring room.
23. The respondent also denied the earlier incident when he was said to have gone to the Court room of Sardar Gurdial Singh in the month of October 1958 and to have made inquiry as to what was happening in the case against Budhwar and Kapur. He also denied telling Shri Makhan Lal Anand, Pleader, that he should do his best on behalf of Messrs, Budhwar and Kapur or even going with him in the same rickshaw to inspect the spot. (After discussing evidence his Lordship proceeds:)
24. The nature of the proceedings for contempt, is commonly treated as of criminal aspect, even when they arise in civil actions. Although the inquiry in this class of proceedings does not admit of strict or technical procedure the freest opportunity should always be given to the respondent to present his defence. (After further discussion his Lordship proceeds:)
25. As to the standard of proof sufficient to sustain conviction, the charge of contempt must be established by clear and convincing evidence pointing to the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. The rule of mere preponderance of evidence is considered insufficient. In proceedings for criminal contempt as in any other criminal case the presumption of innocence obtains; and the burden of proving guilt is placed on the prosecution. The guilt of the person accused of having committed contempt of Court must rest on reasonable certainty. Suspicion, no matter, how strong and speculation howsoever specious must not form a basis for conviction. The contempt as alleged in this case partakes of the nature of a criminal offence in all essential particulars; and in appraising the evidence produced in this case and in drawing the Conclusions therefrom the above rules have to be kept in the forefront.
26. I may now give my impression of the complainant's evidence.
27. I am far from being satisfied that the complainant has substantiated his allegations against the respondent by evidence which can be said to be credible and disinterested. Such evidence as has been led in this case has not only failed to substantiate the truth of the accusations beyond any reasonable doubt but has left an impression on my mind that studious efforts were made to frame up a case with a view to involve the Sub-Judge whose relations with the Magistrate had been anything but friendly. In this case analysis of the documentary, oral and circumstantial evidence strengthens the belief that the case against the respondent Shri Om Parkash Aggarwal was concocted out of spite, and in furtherance of a previously prepared plan. Not only the evidence led on behalf of the complainant in this case has not come no to the standard of persuasion required in cases of contempt, but I am left with a strong misgiving that the net in order to entangle tho respondent had been cast wide with a view to catch him.
28. Apart from the fact that the story of Jawand Singh and his witnesses as to the manner to which they eavesdropped and listened clandestinely to the talk in the Magistrate's retiring room, strains one's credulity, the conduct of S. Gurdial Singh hardly establishes his claim to his motives being alcruistic, emanating from the desire of a disinterested person to put down corruption. The tell-tale interpolations made in the record, the tampering with the dates, the smudging of particular digits the omission to enter proceedings in the peshi register are some among several features the conglomeration of which cannot be considered fortuitous.
The detailed criticism of the complainant's evidence belies the pretention of Jawand Singh complainant to being regarded as injured innocence, to the same extent as it makes the claim of S. Gurdial Singh Magistrate to being considered as an embodiment of incorruptible justice, vulnerable. Not only the evidence produced by the complainant is wanting in weight and sufficiency to sustain conviction, but it has disclosed several sinister weaknesses which call for a sifting scrutiny into the manner in which the complainant's proof was procured and as to how the judicial records were tampered with.
29. The consideration of the complainant's evidence has caused serious misgivings in my mind regarding its veracity and as to the manner in which it was procured.
30. It will not be out of place if at this stage the respondents evidence is analysed to the extent to which this has not already, been done.
31. R. W. 4 Shri Brij Raj Saran has left me with an impression that he was a witness of truth and some of his important statements have found corroboration from the file of this case. The statement of Shri Darbari Lal R. W. 5, who is on friendly terms with the respondent, refers to a chance conversation between him and the Magistrate when they happened to travel in the same compartment. He deposed to what the Magistrate observed in answer to his query about the dispute between him and the Sub-Judge,
It will not be correct to treat his evidence as a proof of an extra-judicial confession that the proceedings in this case were taken with the object of wreaking revenge on account of the previous contempt of Court case. Without recalling the actual words of the Magistrate, the remarks said to have been made by him are only in the nature of an impression left on the mind ,of the witness. I will not, therefore, use the statement of Shri Darbari Lal for coming to the conclusion that S. Gurdial Singh was admittedly involving the Sub-Judge in a false case out of old grudge.
32. The statement of R. W. 7 Kanwar Mam Raj Singh is straightforward and has a ring of truth. His evidence has not been shaken in any wav in the cross-examination which was fairly lengthy. The statement of P. W. 8 is similar to that of P. W. 7. No doubt Shri Vishwa Nath is related to Shri Rajinder Lal, Sub-Judge at Phillaur, but that does not seem to be a sufficient reason for holding that this witness is making a false statement in order to help the respondent.
33. R. W. 9 Ranjinder Lal Pleader and R. W. 10 Kehar Singh Reader to the Sub-Judge, have deposed to Pardhana Ram having brought a message from the Magistrate to the respondent when ho was holding his Court on 20th November, 1958. R. W. 13 S. R. Budhwar and R. W. 14 R. K. Kapur, who were the accused in the Court of the Magistrate in the Criminal case launched by Jawand Singh, are admittedly interested witnesses and it will, not be safe to take into consideration their testimony in determining the truth or falsity of the respective versions.
34. R. W. 15 Pardhana Ram is an important witness, who is said to have brought an oral message from S. Gurdial Singh Magistrate to the Sub-judge. I believe R. W. 15 Pardhana Ram, when he says that a part of the building in which the Court of the Magistrate is located, was undergoing repairs and he had gone there on the morning of 20th to see the repair work done by the contractor. He then said that at the instance of the Sub-Judge he accompanied him to the Magistrate's Court. It struck me as somewhat unusual that the Sub-Judge should have asked Pardhana Ram to accompany him into the retiring room of the Magistrate, without knowing why he had been sent for by him.
According to Shri Chhachhi Advocate for the complainant, Pardhana Ram neither accompanied the Magistrate nor entered the retiring room and had volunteered his services in order to help a friend in difficulty. On the other hand, according to Pardhana Ram, as he was well-known to both the Magistrate and the respondent, and as it was not said that any confidential matter was to be discussed, he entered the retiring room along with the Sub-Judge. Pardhana Ram has stated that the talk related to the appearance of the Sub-Judge as a witness on the next day in the Court of the Magistrate in a case 'State v. Girdhari Lal'. There is no gainsaying the fact that summons had been sent to the Sub-Judge from the Court of the Magistrate to appear as a witness in that case.
35. Pardhana Ram has deposed to another incident, of 1st December, when the Magistrate came to see him while Principal Megh Raj of D. A. V. College for Girls of Jamna Nagar (R. W. 11) was with Pardhana Ram. This part of Pardhana Ram's deposition has struck ma to be out of the ordinary. He claimed S. Gurdial Singh to be his friend, who was on visiting terms and with whom he had cordial relations. S. Gurdial Singh first volunteered that he got a contempt case made against the Sub-Judge and then he desired him that his name should not be mentioned. When Pardhana Ram told him that the Sub-Judge had not said anything to the Magistrate regarding the case of Budhwar and Kapur, the Magistrate desired Pardhana Ram to help him nevertheless.
Pardhana Ram is said to have told the Magistrate that he would give preference to truth over friendship. Whatever misgivings I may have regarding the incident of 1st of December, 1958, the entry of the Sub-Judge and Pardhana Ram in the retiring room of the Magistrate has been supported by the statement of Kanwar Mam Raj Singh whose testimony I have no reason to doubt and also of R. W. 8 Shri Vishwa Nath, who struck me to be a witness of truth.
36. The respondent offered himself as a witness and was cross-examined at considerable length. The gist of his version has already been discussed. He had denied the allegations that he approached the Magistrate on behalf of Budhwar and Kapur accused. If his relations with the Magistrate had been cordial, it is likely, that he would not have written on the back of the summons that he should be served through the District Judge. It seems to me that he went to see the Magistrate on receiving a message from him.
I find it hard to believe that the Sub-Judge, after having refused to be served directly and after having expressed his unwillingness to appear in the Magistrate's Court, unless service was effected through the District Judge, would have gone, soon after, to make overtures to the Magistrate, in a matter, as to the impropriety of which, there could not be two opinions. It also seems unlikely, that the Sub-Judge would have dared to make such an improper request to the Magistrate when the relationship between them was anything but cordial.
It is true, that both Budhwar and Kapur were known to the Sub-Judge and they might have wanted somebody to use his good offices with the Magistrate, in order to intercede on their behalf. Their choice should have fallen on Pardhana Ram R. W. 15, Sub-Divisional Officer, who claimed to having friendly and social relations with the Magistrate. I also find it hard to believe, that neither the Sub-Judge nor the Magistrate would have noticed Jawand Singh and his friends if they were in tact standing against the window--leaning on the wire-netting.
These witnesses have stated that the Sub-Judge and the Magistrate were visible to them from outside. It does seem unlikely that the Sub-Judge would not have taken precautions to make sure, that be is not overheard by people who were standing outside the window. The explanation given by the respondent as to his having gone to see the Magistrate on the morning of 20th of November, 1958, is plausible. Where the evidence is sharply conflicting it is a safe rule to lean in favour of the defendant's version by reason of presumption of innocence. But in this case, I have come to the conclusion that the prosecution case is singularly unconvincing and gives rise to strong suspicion as to the case against the respondent being faked.
37. I have given anxious thought to the case, as what was imputed to the respondent, was a grave misconduct, which under no circumstances could be condoned or palliated, particularly when the alleged contemner was himself a holder of a Judicial office. It is a gross contempt of Court to communicate with a Judge for the purpose of influencing on the subject-matter of a case pending before him. Among a large variety of acts and conduct which amount to contempt of Court, whereby due administration of justice is obstructed, interrupted, embarrassed, or impeded, an attempt to corrupt a Judge is perhaps the most serious. It is a dangerous assault upon the integrity of the Court.
38. Every public office is a public trust, buta judicial office is more than that--it is a sacredtrust. If is abhorrent to the conception of publicjustice that a Judge should be influenced in makinghis decision by extraneous influences to corrupt himor out of feeling of personal retaliation. Courtshave shown scant mercy to those who have attempted to deter a presiding officer of a Court from performance of his duties by attempt to influence hisdecision by means of private communication.
If the allegations, as have been made in this case, had been substantiated the guilty person would have richly deserved a deterrent punishment. After taking into consideration the entire evidence, both direct and circumstantial, I find it difficult to resist the conclusion, that the respondent has been sinned against than sinning. The rule issued against Shri Om Parkash Aggarwal, Sub-Judge 1st Class, the respondent in this case, is discharged and the petition of Jawand Singh is dismissed. Jawand Singh shall bear the costs of this petition which I assess at Rs. 500/-.