B.J. Divan, C.J.
1. This Reference has been made to this Court under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act by the learned Joint Civil Judge, Junior Division, Kalol in Mahesana District, in respect of certain statements alleged to constitute contempt of Court of the learned Judge's Court. The facts giving rise to this Reference are as follows : The original complainant in the contempt proceedings is one Nandlal Khodidas Barot, an advocate practising at Kalol. At the material time, Nandlal Khodidas Barot who was the Vice-President of Kalol Municipality, had filed three regular civil suits, namely, Suits Nos. 12 of 1980, 116 of 1980 and 136 of 1980. All the three suits were filed by Nandlal Khodidas Barot as party in person and in each of them the principal defendant was Kalol Municipality and there were several other defendants as co-defendants in these suits. In his capacity as municipal councillor of Kalol Municipality, Barot wanted to safeguard what he considered the interest of municipal property as a trustee. In Regular Civil Suit No. 12 of 1980, he had obtained an ad interim ex parte injunction restraining the municipality from demolishing its municipal building in which it was functioning till then. This ad interim ex parte injunction was confirmed after both parties were heard but no appeal was preferred against the decision of the learned trial Judge and the injunction continued till the hearing of the suit. In Regular Civil Suit No. 116 of 1980 the plaintiff, that is, Nandlal Khodidas Barot, applied for an ad interim ex parte injunction restraining the municipality from making payment of Rs. 50,000/- by a cheque dated, May 23, 1980 issued by the defendant municipality to the contractor Messrs. Sunil Corporation, Unjha, through Bank of India, Kalol Branch. This ex parte ad interim injunction was obtained on May 24. 1980. Barot also filed Regular Civil Suit No. 136 of 1980 on June 20, 1980 and obtained an ad interim ex parte injunction restraining Kalol Municipality from paying the amount of Rs. 12,399-70 paise by cheque issued by the defendant municipality in favour of the defendant contractor Shrimati Savitaben Apabhai Amin of Kalol through Central Bank of India, Kalol Branch, Kalol, After the ex parte injunctions had been obtained in Regular Civil Suits Nos. 116 of 1980 and 136 of 1980, Kalol Municipality passed the necessary resolutions of the General Board of the Municipality to the effect that in neither of the two suits the Municipality would make payment of the cheques concerned to the contractor in question and thereupon the plaintiff of those two suits, Nandlal Khodidas Barot, withdrew both the suits and subsequently, that is, on Jan. 3, 1981, Regular Civil Suit No. 136 of 1980 was withdrawn by the plaintiff of that suit and Regular Civil Suit No. 116 of 1980 was withdrawn on Mar. 31, 1981.
2. While these suits were pending in the court of the learned Joint Civil Judge, Junior Division, Kalol, the respondents are alleged to have published a pamphlet and distributed the same among the general public in Kalol Town. This publication and distribution took place on or about June 22, 1980. The plaintiff of those three suits, Barot, then submitted an application on July 2, 1980 for necessary action which he submitted should be taken under the Contempt of Courts Act. Thereupon the learned Joint Civil Judge, Junior Division held an inquiry and in the course of that inquiry he recorded depositions of J. B. Thakkar, Chief Officer of Kalol Municipality, and M. I. Malek, a typist working with Kalol Municipality, and also the deposition of Mr. N. K. Barot, advocate. The learned trial Judge also collected the relevant documents as per the list, Exhibit 14, collectively, and for this purpose different clerks of the Court working at Kalol were examined since they were in possession of the relevant records.
3. It came out in the course of the preliminary inquiry that the draft of the pamphlet, Annexure. 'A' to the Reference, was prepared by respondent No. 1 who was a municipal councillor at the relevant time, and some portion of this writing was typed by J. B. Thakkar, Chief Officer of the Municipality, and the rest of the pamphlet was typed by M. I. Malek, typist of Kalol Municipality. Thereafter respondent No. 2 who has signed at the foot of each page of the typed document and also at the foot of the typed document, got, the pamphlet printed in the printing press of the third respondent, the other alleged contemner, and thereafter the printed pamphlets were distributed in Kalol Town. It is this action of the three respondents, in writing the pamphlet so far as contemner No. 1 was concerned, in signing and getting it typed so far as contemner No. 2 was concerned and in printing and publishing the pamphlet so far as respondent No. 3 is concerned, which is complained of in these contempt of Court proceedings. The learned Judge has pointed out that the pamphlet contains various allegations against advocate Mr. N. K. Barot but it has been pointed out by the learned Judge in paragraph 6 of his order that in paragraph 15 the words used with reference to Nandlal Khodidas Barot were that it was alleged that advocate Mr. N. K. Barot was in the habit of browbeating and threatening the Court. Mr. Barot was getting headstrong and anti-social elements released from jail or police custody and on the top of it Mr. Barot was filing complaints against the police. In paragraph 17 it has been further stated that in the Courts at Kalol in all cases in which Mr. N. K. Barot was appearing as an advocate, the decision used to be in favour of the clients of Mr. N. K. Barot and it was further alleged in paragraph 17 that the Magistrate of the Courts at Kalol were afraid or frightened of Mr. N. K. Barot.
4. It is obvious that these sentences from paragraph 15 and paragraph 17 of the pamphlet are clearly contumacious and they tarnish the image of the Judiciary so far as the Judges posted at Kalol are concerned. To say that the Judges or Magistrates or presiding Judicial Officer were frightened of a particular advocate, or that orders in favour of headstrong persons were being passed because of the threats given by Mr. N. K. Barot to the Presiding officer and lastly to say of a particular Judge or a Judicial Officer that in all cases in which a particular advocate, namely, Mr. N. K. Barot, was appearing would be decided in favour of clients of that advocate, is defamatory per se. These words tarnish the image of the Judiciary and bring the Judiciary into contempt and : these words expose the Judicial Officer concerned to ridicule and the confidence of the public in Court's machinery, particularly in the context of litigation pending at Kalol, would certainly be lowered. The reputation of the Court is bound to suffer because of these reckless allegations made against the Judges and Magistrates posted at Kalol.
5. Mr. P. B. Majmudar, learned advocate appearing for respondents Nos. 2 and 3 submits that the whole tenor of the pamphlet, Annexure 'A' to the Reference, is by way of tirade against Mr. N. K. Barot and that, incidentally the Courts come into the picture and the words in paragraphs 15 and 17 should be construed liberally. Now so far as respondent No. 2 Kacharabhai Amurbhai Parmar is concerned, he is a municipal councillor. His signatures appear at the foot of all the typed pages and he is therefore responsible for the inclusion of the remarks in the pamphlet in question. Respondent No. 3, the owner of the printing press, is also equally guilty because he should have considered the matter well before the objectionable pamphlet was printed at his printing press. Each of these respondents 2 and 3 has tendered an unconditional apology and so far as respondent NO. 1 is concerned, he has totally denied any liability or any connection with the pamphlet whatsoever. We accept the plea of guilty on the part of respondents 2 and 3 and considering the plea for mercy and lenient treatment, in our view, since apology does not purge contempt though this is a gross contempt of Court, that is, one of the Court subordinate to the High Court, in view of the apology tendered by them and in view of the consequences which will follow from the factum of the printing of the pamphlet, we take a lenient view and sentence contemner No. 2 Kacharabhai Amurbhai Parmar to pay a fine of rupees two hundred fifty in default to suffer simple imprisonment for one month. We sentence the original opponent No. 3, Maheshkumar Madhu-kant Shah, to pay a fine of rupees one hundred or in default of payment of fine to undergo simple imprisonment for two weeks. The amount of the fine to be paid in the High Court on or before July 30, 1981.
6. As regards original contemner No. 1, Naranbhai Sadabhai Parmar, he has not admitted his guilt nor has he tendered any apology and in view of the fact that the proceedings had gone oh ex parte, that is, in the absence of Naranbhai Sadabhai Parmar, an opportunity should be given to Naranbhai Sadabhai parmar to meet the case as set out against him. Under these circumstances, so far as original contemner No. 1 is concerned, namely, Naranbhai Sadabhai Parmar, is concerned, the matter is remanded back to the trial Court with a direction to ascertain whether the association of Naranbhai Sadabhai Parmar with the writing of the contents of the pamphlet is established or whether his active participation in the bringing out of the pamphlet is or is not established. The finding to be returned with the opinion of the Court to this court within four months of the receipt of the intimation to the Court concerned by this High Court. Under these circumstances, Rule is made absolute against respondents 2 and 3 and as regards respondent No. 1, the case is adjourned so that after recording appropriate evidence in that behalf and after giving an opportunity to the learned Joint Civil Judge, Junior Division, Kalol may make a proper report. The case is adjourned till after the report is received regarding opponent No. 1 Naranbhai Sadabhai Parmar.