G.M. Lodha, J.
1. Umed Singh, petitioner has filed this contempt petition for disobedience of the following order of this Court dated 31-3-1977 in S. B. Civil Misc. Stay Appl. No. 52/77 in Writ No. 58/77.
Issue notice of the stay application. The petitioner-appellant has already complied with the provisions of Sub-clauses (a) and (b) of Clause (4) of Article 226 of the Constitution by furnishing copies of the petition and relevant documents to the learned Counsel for the State on March 17, 1977. In the meantime the respondents are restrained from giving effect to and acting upon 'Notification No. GSR 168 dated Dec. 30, 1976 (Ex. 1) and advertisement dated Jan. 15, 1977 (Ex. '2').
The learned Deputy Govt. Advocate accepts notice of the stay application.
Put up after two weeks as prayed by learned Deputy Government Advocate.
2. This order was passed in the presence of the Deputy Government Advocate and after hearing him. The copies of the writ petition and stay petition were earlier served on Mar. 17, 1977. It would thus be seen that from Mar. 17, 1977, to Mar. 31, 1977 respondents had ample time to have knowledge of the writ petition and the stay petition and having full knowledge thereafter it was argued on 31st Mar., 1977.
3. Since the stay order was passed after hearing the Deputy Government Advocate for admission of the case and in his presence, legal corollary is that the respondents got the knowledge of the stay order, the moment, it was dictated in the open court.
4. In spite of this, the non-petitioner No. 2 Sh. K.K. Gupta acted upon the advertisement and issued appointment order of 1Q persons as Deputy Rangers, on 31st Mar., 1977, after passing of the stay order. Non-petitioner Mr. Gupta in his reply stated that he obtained know ledge of the stay order only on 6th Apr., 1977, when it was despatched by the Deputy Registrar, Rajasthan High Court, Respondent-non-petitioner admits that orders were issued on 31st Mar., 1977 after the medical reports were received in two lots on the same day and the selected candidates were also allowed to join on that very day because the limitation of the amendment in Rule 22 was to expire on that, very day. The respondents have also mentioned in the reply that the petitioner, himself, disobeyed the stay order by appearing in the medical test and he should not be allowed to play the game of 'hide and seek'.
5. Affidavit of Mr. S.B. Mathur, Additional Government Advocate shows that he was present when the stay order dated 31-3-1977 was passed. He requested Shri Shishodia, Government Advocate to inform the Chief Conservator of Forest, who in terms, sent a letter on 2nd Apr., 1977, a copy of this letter dated 2-4-77 has been filed.
6. Respondent, Mr. Gupta has also submitted an unconditional apology.
7. In view of the above facts, one fact which has become very patent particularly, is that on 31st Mar., 1977 the limitation of rules under which the appointments were being made, was expiring and therefore, the respondents were keen to make the appointments and petitioner was very keen to obtain stay order. Other important feature of the case is that the respondents were served through Deputy Government Advocate on 17-3-1977 and therefore, about two weeks time was there in between for consultation and discussion of the case.
8. In a matter of this nature where limitation for appointments, was expiring on 31st Mar. 1977, and both the parties were keen, petitioners to get the respondents restrained from making such appointments and respondents to appoint eligible persons before the expiry of that day, it is not possible to believe that the respondent would remain unaware of the writ petition till 6th Apr. 1977 as alleged. In such a keenly contested case each day's developments are watched by the parties and the Court cannot ignore the urgency and the importance and interest which both the parties are presumed to take.
9. In this view of the matter the story put up by the respondents that even though, notice was served on the Deputy Government Advocate on 17-3-1977. respondents were not aware of the writ petition and stay order till 6-4-1977, appears to be completely incorrect and cannot be believed.
10. The knowledge of the Deputy Government advocate would be assumed to be knowledge of the respondents, who are represented by him, otherwise, the stay orders passed in the presence of the counsel for the parties would become futile and meaningless. No party can be allowed to plead that even though counsel was aware of the stay order, the same Was not communicated to him.
11. It is also to be noted that the respondents have not taken any step to purge themselves from the contempt.
12. Normally, therefore, respondents have disobeyed the order of this Court and there appears to be no escape from giving this finding.
13. Even then before giving a finding that the respondents are guilty of the contempt of Court and as such, they are to be punished for the same, one more aspect of the case, and the law on the subject is to be considered. For one thing, the respondents have submitted regrets and apology and in a case of this nature where respondent No. 2 had no direct knowledge, that should be treated as sufficient for discharging the notice of the contempt. Added to it, is the weighty observations of Hon'ble the Supreme Court in Union of India v. Satish Chand Sharma : 2SCR298 , wherein his Lordship, Hon'ble Mr. Justice Krishna. Iyer reminded this Court of the important and far-reaching observations of the junior hand.
14. Commenting on the judgment of this Court (per G. M. Lodha J.) his Lordship observed as under:
The High Court hortatively told the Union of India that the law is the king of kings and, admonished in high-sounding style
That the State functionaries should at least after 28 years of the functioning of the Constitution and rule of law in this country, realise, understand and literally and faithfully implement the judicial pronouncement by showing respect to law. All the officers, the citizens in general, the litigants and the State functionaries in all seriousness should keep the following eternal saying of the great jurist Maharshi Manu as uppermost in our mind, i.e. 'Law is the king of kings, far more rigid and powerful than they, there is nothing higher than law; by its powers the weak shall prevail over the strong and justice shall triumph.' I wish this should not only be exhibited as the guidelines in all Government offices, important public institutions, street-corners and road corners but acted upon both in letter and spirit by all irrespective of the office, profession, status and assignment which one holds in life.
We agree but wish to add that the Manu text be exhibited also in Court halls together with Cromwell's famous statement which the great Judge, learned Hand wanted should be hung on legislative and court halls. 'I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you might be mistaken.
15. In the same judgment, his Lordship again provided very wise guidance to this Court by making the following observations:
To proceed to punish in haste without pausing to realise how government functions is not fair in this drastic jurisdiction where personal freedom is in peril. The description of its processes, as prevalent in the days of Lord Curzon, holds good today. Here are his impatient words dipped in pungent ink:.the administration had become ponderous like an elephant-'very stately, very powerful with a high standard of intelligence, but with a regal slowness in its gait.
Round and round, like the diurnal revolution of the earth, went the file, stately, solemn, sure and slow: and now, in due season, it has completed its orbit, and I am invited to register the concluding stage.
We are in no mood to condone wilful procrastination nor suffer want on stagnation in Administration as a ground for default in obeying Court orders. The law does not respect lazy bosses nor 'cheeky' evaders. But no proof of that species of guilt has been brought to our notice. Mere inaction has no long mileage where mens rea is sine qua non-
(1) Curzon, cited in Earl of Ronald Shya, life of Lord Curzon London 1928 Vol. 2P 64. 'Curzon to Hamilton, 21 Feb., 1901.
16. In consonance with high spirit of restraint as advised above. I am of the opinion that no finding of guilt can be recorded against the respondents and they cannot be held guilty for committing contempt of Court.
17. It is true that an order of this Court has been reduced to a waste paper by the above action of the respondents, but even then that is not sufficient to punish the respondents in this drastic jurisdicion. It is, of course, expected that in the high spirit of restraint in which this Court is discharging notice without punishing the respondents, respects would be shown by the respondents also, if at all, they chose to do so even now, by giving relief to the petitioner even now.
18. With the above observations, notices of contempt issued against the respondents, are discharged and consequently, the contempt petition is dismissed without any order as to costs.