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K.P. Radhakrishna Menon Vs. State of Kerala - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1980CriLJ1073
AppellantK.P. Radhakrishna Menon
RespondentState of Kerala
Excerpt:
- - it is alleged that the learned judge had developed a dislike for him and had behaved insultingly towards him on prior occasions. it will at best be a scratch on the relationship between the bench and the bar, likely to heal over in no time. the sight of a public prosecutor accusing a judge of personal dislike and insulting behaviour, arid the latter turning round to suggest that the boot is really on the other leg, brings little credit to the administration of justice in which both have their respective and respectful parts to play. the petition will therefore stand allowed to the extent of directing that the comments complained of would stand erased......the 17th, he fell ill. in order to avoid interruption of the trial, he arranged for the additional public prosecutor to take charge of it. the complaint is that when the report made in this connection came up before the court on the 18th, the then sessions judge sent for his stenographer and passed an order making several disparaging remarks against the petitioner. it is alleged that the learned judge had developed a dislike for him and had behaved insultingly towards him on prior occasions. the adverse comments were unwarranted and uncalled for, and were devoid of factual foundation. they were made without affording the petitioner an opportunity of being heard, and the whole thing amounted to ex parte condemnation transgressing the limits of judicial propriety.3. the order impunged.....
Judgment:
ORDER

M.P. Menon, J.

1. In this petition filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the petitioner, a Public Prosecutor attached to the Court of Session at Manjeri, seeks to get expunged some remarks made against him in the court's order dated 18th January, 1980.

2. The petitioner was in charge of Sessions Case No. 43 of 1978 and its trial started on 15-1-1980. Witnesses were examined on the 16th and 17th also, but by the evening of the 17th, he fell ill. In order to avoid interruption of the trial, he arranged for the Additional Public Prosecutor to take charge of it. The complaint is that when the report made in this connection came up before the court on the 18th, the then Sessions Judge sent for his Stenographer and passed an order making several disparaging remarks against the petitioner. It is alleged that the learned Judge had developed a dislike for him and had behaved insultingly towards him on prior occasions. The adverse comments were unwarranted and uncalled for, and were devoid of factual foundation. They were made without affording the petitioner an opportunity of being heard, and the whole thing amounted to ex parte condemnation transgressing the limits of judicial propriety.

3. The order impunged starts with the observation that the handing over of the case to the Additional Public Prosecutor without obtaining the court's permission was prima facie contempt. Mention is then made of an incident of 4th October, 1979 when the petitioner is said to have left the court without permission in the midst of examining a witness in S. C. No. 36 of 1978, leaving the court high and dry; the Judge had to wait for about 20 minutes for the Public Prosecutor to return. Around the same time, four other Sessions Cases were left to be handled by the Additional Public Prosecutor, the petitioner himself having chosen, with doubtful propriety, to attend the court of the Assistant Sessions Judge. During the trial of SC 43 of 1978 itself the petitioner had created circumstances preventing the smooth working of the court by his refusal to stand corrected with regard to the requirements of Section 162 Cr.P.C. in the course of cross-examining prosecution witnesses who had turned hostile. The order concludes:

Having considered all these circumstances I find that there is no bona tides in the present report filed by the learned P. P. Therefore, I am not accepting it. But since he is not present in the court today and the case has to be proceeded with, I allow...the learned Addl. P. P. to continue the case because his assistance and co-operation has been of great help to this Court during my tenure of office.

4. The remarks of the Judge have been called for. It is stated in paragraph (1) of the remarks that the petitioner had sought for and obtained an urgent copy of the order and had taken it to Ernakulam to hold consultations there and seek advice. In pursuance of the advice so obtained, he made a false complaint to the High Court on 21-1-1980 and followed it up, on 23-1-1980, with a complaint to the Manjeri Bar Association, Within a matter of days, the learned Judge, got orders transferring him to another station. The allegations relating to personal animosity and insulting behaviour are denied in paragraph (2). It is claimed that the Judge had always been considerate and indulgent, in spite of the petitioner's improper behaviour. He had even helped him out of difficult situations. Paragraph (3) states that no disparaging remarks have been made; and paragraphs (4) to (10) are devoted to explaining how the observations were justified on the facts. Reference is also made to occasions when the petitioner himself was rude and indignant, displaying attitudes which were 'insulting and embarrassing'. Paragraphs (11) to (13) cite instances where hearing tot old cases and of bail applications had to be adjourned for want of proper cooperation from the Public Prosecutor.

5. The question is whether on the facts disclosed the adverse comments in question were necessary for the disposal of the report, and whether the making of them calls for interference under 482 to prevent abuse of the process of the court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.

6. On a reading of the order and the remarks offered, what strikes me most is the remarkable capacity of the learned Judge to remember every detail of the various incidents referred to, with dates, hours and minutes complete. The movements of the petitioner from court to court and from Manjeri to Ernakulam and back, could not also have been ordinarily picked by judicial antennae, The inference to be drawn is that at the time the order under challenge was passed, the relationship between the two was not what it should have been. An occasional brush between presiding officer and counsel may be part of the occupational hazards for both; it will at best be a scratch on the relationship between the bench and the bar, likely to heal over in no time. But when matters proceed further and the scratch deepens into a wound, it ceases to be an evitable evil which could be condoned even halfheartedly on grounds of expediency. The sight of a Public Prosecutor accusing a Judge of personal dislike and insulting behaviour, arid the latter turning round to suggest that the boot is really on the other leg, brings little credit to the administration of justice in which both have their respective and respectful parts to play. It has been said that every one wants the butcher's scale to be strictly honest, but has no objection if the bathroom scale fools around a bit. Be that as it may, the phenomenon of personal politics within court could never be allowed to acquire that high visibility which will permit its being reflected in orders to be judicially pronounced; and unfortunately that seems to have happened in this case.

7. Besides, the comments against the petitioner were obviously made without hearing him. The Additional Public Prosecutor was there to represent him, says the Judge in his remarks; he was no' doubt there, but only to represent the State in the Sessions trial and not to account for what his colleague might or might not have done on other occasions The petitioner could have hardly anticipated that the enquiry into the report would involve an enquiry into such matters.

8. More then anything else, the observations in question were absolutely unnecessary for the disposal of the report. If the Public Prosecutor was prone to creating embarrassing situations and obstructing the smooth working of the court, as is suggested, the Sessions Judge could have easily accepted the report with a sense of relief, if not of gratification, and without appearing to reject it in theory and accepting it in practice, by allowing the Additional Prosecutor to take over. The court, in my view, should have resisted the temptation to give expression to personal predilections which only added to the length of its order, but not to its utility.

The petition will therefore stand allowed to the extent of directing that the comments complained of would stand erased. Ordered accordingly.


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