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Prem Pal Vs. Lal Singh and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1968CriLJ268
AppellantPrem Pal
RespondentLal Singh and anr.
Cases ReferredIn Gurbachan Singh v. Ch. Hoshiar Singh
Excerpt:
.....one month and that even on his making such a deposit the amount would not be paid out to the decree-holder without his furnishing security for restoration, a copy of the stay application along with a copy of the stay order dated 18.4.1966 endorsed thereon was forwarded by the registry of this court to the judge, small cause court, delhi, as enclosure to letter no. 2.5.1966. 3. freely translated into english, the statement would mean something like this: 5. translated into english, the above-quoted statement of the decree-holder would read like this: ' in the end the decree-holder has stated that he is an illiterate person not well-versed in court procedure, that he did not have the least intention to flout any order of this court and that in case the court comes to a conclusion..........one month and that even on his making such a deposit the amount would not be paid out to the decree-holder without his furnishing security for restoration, a copy of the stay application along with a copy of the stay order dated 18.4.1966 endorsed thereon was forwarded by the registry of this court to the judge, small cause court, delhi, as enclosure to letter no. 10321 dated 19.4.1966. on 20.4.1966 the clerk of the court of small causes, delhi, made an endorsement on the said communication forwarding the same to the court of shri h.l. randev, additional judge, small causes, delhi, for necessary compliance. below the above-mentioned endorsement appears the order of the learned additional judge, small causes, delhi, in the following words:received today. entry be made in.....
Judgment:
ORDER

R.S. Narula, J.

1. An application for execution of a money decree obtained by Tawahar Singh, respondent No. 2, against Prem Pal, petitioner, was filed in the Court of Additional Judge, Small Cause Court, Delhi, on 6.4.1966, An order for attachment of the movable property of the judgment-debtor was passed on that application on 11.4.1966. A warrant of attachment returnable for 15.7.1966 was issued on the same day. In the meantime the judgment-debtor filed Civil Revision No. 192-D of 1966 in this Court along with an application for stay of execution of the money decree during the pendency of the revision petition. The revision petition was admitted by this Court on 18.4.1966. On the same date it was ordered by this Court that the judgment-debtor could deposit the decretal amount in the trial Court within one month and that even on his making such a deposit the amount would not be paid out to the decree-holder without his furnishing security for restoration, A copy of the stay application along with a copy of the stay order dated 18.4.1966 endorsed thereon was forwarded by the Registry of this Court to the Judge, Small Cause Court, Delhi, as enclosure to letter No. 10321 dated 19.4.1966. On 20.4.1966 the Clerk of the Court of Small Causes, Delhi, made an endorsement on the said communication forwarding the same to the Court of Shri H.L. Randev, Additional Judge, Small Causes, Delhi, for necessary compliance. Below the above-mentioned endorsement appears the order of the learned Additional Judge, Small Causes, Delhi, in the following words:

Received today. Entry be made in the-execution register. Place on the file.

(Daskhat) Prem Pal.

2.5.1966.

3. Freely translated into English, the statement would mean something like this:

Civil Revision No. 192-D of 1966 which we had filed against the decree in favour of Jawahar Singh, has been admitted by Justice R.S. Narula on 18.4.1966 and we have been allowed one month's time to deposit the decretal amount in Court. The decree should not, therefore, be executed till 17.5.1966.

4. It has also been admitted by the decree-holder in his reply to the notice issued to him that the petitioner did state about a stay order having been issued by the High Court. In spite of the above-said statement of the judgment-debtor-petitioner and the endorsement made by him on the warrant of attachment, the decree-holder made a statement which was recorded in Landa characters of which the Urdu version is also written on the back of the warrant of attachment and reads as follows:

Jo Prem Pal ne likha hai, mujhe manzoor nahin. Main har tareh harje wa kharche ka zimmewar hun. Men zimmewari par fcurid ki jawe.

5. Translated into English, the above-quoted statement of the decree-holder would read like this:

I do not agree with what has been written by Prem Paul above. Attachment should be effected on my responsibility and I would be liable for all losses and damages.

6. Thereupon Lal Singh, respondent, proceeded to effect attachment of certain goods of the judgment-debtor-petitioner which were entrusted to a garnishee.

7. In the above circumstances Prem Pal judgment-debtor-petitioner, filed Criminal Original Petition No. 20-D of 1966 on 10.5.1966 for convicting the respondents (the decree-holder and the bailiff) for contempt of this Court and for punishing them and also for cancellation of the attachment made in violation of the interim order of this Court. Notice of the application was ordered to issue by me on 11.5.1966 returnable for 16.5.1966. On that day respondent No. 2 appeared through counsel and it was reported that service had not been effected on the bailiff. Respondent No. 2 was allowed time to file his reply by 18.5.1966. In the meantime the Administrative Sub-Judge was directed to have notice of the case served on the bailiff. Accordingly, the bailiff was served with the notice and he appeared before me.

8. In his written reply dated 18.5.1966, respondent No. 2 has stated that the judgment-debtor-petitioner did make the statement in question but the decree-holder-respondent did not accept the judgment-debtor's contention as Tie did not consider the judgment-debtor trustworthy and, therefore, he asked the bailiff to proceed with the attachment. The decree-holder also made the following admission in Ms written reply:

He (the judgment-debtor) only vaguely stated that stay had been granted for one month.

9. The decree-holder has said in this connection that he 'did not accept the mere ipse dixit of the petitioner.' In the end the decree-holder has stated that he is an illiterate person not well-versed in Court procedure, that he did not have the least intention to flout any order of this Court and that in case the Court comes to a conclusion that the respondent has disobeyed the interim order dated 18.4.1966 'he unreservedly puts himself at the mercy of the Court and tenders unqualified apology'. He has also averred that it never occurred to him at the relevant time that he was disobeying an order of the Court in any manner whatsoever.

10. At the hearing of the case before me on 18.5.1966 the learned counsel for respondent No. 2 stated that a detailed reply had been filed to bring before the Court the real facts and not with a view to contest the proceedings. The counsel stated that respondent No. 2 was extremely sorry for the inadvertent disrespect shown to the order of the Court and tendered unqualified apology for the same.

11. Lal Singh, bailiff, filed a reply dated 18.5.1966 in which he stated as follows:

All that he (the judgment-debtor) stated was that he had been given time to deposit money. He did not state as to who had given him time for that purpose.

12. To say the least, this statement of Lal Singh is contrary to the record and is not consistent with the statement of the judgment-debtor endorsed on the warrant of attachment itself. The said statement in Hindi is not capable of being interpreted in any other manner than to mean that the High Court had granted the judgment-debtor one month's time to deposit the decretal amount. When this was brought to the notice of respondent No. 1, he apologised for his mistaken impression and tendered unqualified apology. He was given time to give a revised reply and thereupon he filed a brief reply to the following effect on the same day:

The answering respondent tenders unqualified apology to this Hon'ble Court and expresses deep sorrow and regrets at what has happened. He is a poor man with a large family to support and has put in 26 years' service without even a warning being administered to him.

13. In view of the attitude adopted by the respondents at the hearing of the petition, there was no scope for any arguments being addressed by them and both the respondents have merely thrown themselves at the mercy of the Court.

14. I regret to observe that though the reply of the decree-holder appears to be comparatively more straightforward, the bailiff first attempted to take up an absolutely false and untenable defence. On the facts of this case I find both the respondents guilty of having committed contempt of this Court by showing disregard for the orders of the Court allowing the judgment-debtor one month's time to deposit the decretal amount which one month had admittedly not yet expired on 2.5.1966. As soon as the judgment-debtor had stated that there was a stay order from the High Court, the decree-holder and the bailiff should have become cautious and should not have adopted the hazardous course of possible disobedience of such an order. Particularly when the judgment-debtor had given a statement in writing it became the duty of the bailiff not to proceed further with the execution of the decree without verifying the facts from the Court or making a reference, to the executing Court. Even if he had adopted this course, the Court would have told him that the warrant was not to be executed as the stay orders had already reached the trial Court and it had been noted by the Execution Clerk on the record of the case 'stay a giya hai'.

15. It is not necessary that a certified copy or an authenticated copy of the stay order must be shown to the bailiff and the decree-holder. If any authentic evidence or credible information is given by some known person to the bailiff at the time of execution that further proceedings have been stayed, it is the duty of the bailiff to desist from proceeding further with the matter even if the decree-holder or anyone else is prepared to take the entire responsibility for an illegal act. I am not at all happy with the attitude adopted by respondent No. 2 in saying that he did not agree to the statement of the judgment-debtor wherein the judgment-debtor had clearly stated that the High Court had allowed him one month's time to pay the amount. In Gurbachan Singh v. Ch. Hoshiar Singh , it was held by Falshaw, J., that when an officer is credibly informed of the passing of a stay order, he may be guilty of contempt if he persists in carrying out the action which has been ordered to be stayed and it is not a necessary ingredient of the offence of contempt that the order should have been officially communicated to him. In the instant case, the judgment-debtor himself had taken the responsibility of stating it in writing that the High Court had granted him time to pay the decretal amount. He had given the number of the case, the date of the order and even the name of the Judge who passed it. In the circumstances of the case this information should have been regarded by the bailiff as sufficiently credible. Heavens would not have fallen if the bailiff had' waited till 10 a.m. on the next day to enquire from the executing Court if there was any untruth in the statement of the judgment-debtor.

Hoshiar Singh's appeal against the judgment of Falshaw, J., was dismissed by their Lordships of the Supreme Court on 8th February, 1962. That judgment of the Supreme Court is reported in : AIR1962SC1089 . Their Lordships held that in a matter of this type it is well settled that it is not necessary that the order should have been served upon the party against whom it has been granted in order to justify committal for breach of such an order, provided it is proved that the person complained against had notice of the order aliunde. It was observed by the Court that there may be circumstances where officials entrusted with the duty of carrying out a legal order may have valid reasons to doubt the authenticity of the order conveyed to them by interested parties and in those circumstances it may be said that there was no wilful disobedience of the order made. In the instant case there is nothing on record which could justify the decree-holder's alleged suspicion and doubt about the correctness of the statement made by the judgment-debtor. In any case there was no reason whatever for the bailiff to doubt that statement. I, therefore, hold that neither the decree-holder nor the bailiff had any real justification for doubting the correctness and truth of the order of the Court which was communicated to them by the judgment-debtor orally and which it was the duty of the respondents to obey, their disregard of the stay order amounts to wilful disobedience of the directions of this Court and both the respondents are therefore, held guilty of having committed contempt of this Court.

16. In the peculiar circumstances of the case and in view of the attitude adopted by the respondents at the hearing, I do not want to sentence them to any term of imprisonment, accept their unconditional and unqualified apology. A copy of this order shall be placed on the personal file of the bailiff. In view of his long service and the fact stated by him that he has not even received a warning upto this time no further administrative action would be necessary to be taken against him. Both the respondents would, however, pay the costs of the petitioner in these proceedings. The attachment effected on 2.5.1966 was illegal and stands cancelled.


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