(1) The respondent, once s Sub Inspector of Police, was dismissed from service on the 3rd April 1956. The validity of his dismissal forms the subject matter of a writ petition (W. P. No. 749 of 1963) on the file of this court. When the petition was pending presumably coming to know that Srinivasan J. was likely to hear and dispose of the writ petition, a letter has been sent by the respondent to the learned Judge on the 11th September 1963. that the respondent wrote this letter is not now disputed. Therein he has stated that in the disciplinary proceedings leading up to his dismissal, the officers of the police department have fabricated false documents and committed forgery and allied offences and that the enquiry officer had further tampered with a document which was filed by him to disprove the charges against him. He then proceeded to state:
"A mere reading of my writ petition in W. P. No. 749 of 1963 and connected paper will convince the Honourable Judges of the High Court, Madras that the case is a foisted and concocted one".
Finally he has requested the Judge to expedite the hearing of the writ petition.
(2) The allegations made against the enquiry officer are but a substantial reproduction of similar allegations in the writ petition itself. It cannot, therefore, be said that they by themselves are new; but the vice of the letter of the respondents that he proceeded to communicate with the Judge privately, evidently with a view to influence his decision. As has been observed in Volume III of Halsbury's Laws of England III Edn. (Lord Simonds) at page 7.
"Every private communication to a Judge for the purpose of influencing his decision upon a pending matter whether or not accompanied by the offer of a bribe or personal abuse is a contempt of court tending to interfere with the course of justice".
(3) There can be little doubt, in the instant case that notwithstanding the fact that the substantial allegations in the letter to the Judge were also contained in the writ petition itself they were intended to influence the Judge and create sympathy in favour of the respondent. Dealing with this subject, Oswald in his Book on Contempt Committal and Attachment at page 48 observes.
"It is a grave contempt of court to communicate with or to seek in any way to influence a Judge upon the subject of any matter he has to determine".
(4) A Special Bench of this court in Tuljaram Rao v. Sir James Taylor, ILR (1939) Mad 466: (AIR 1939 Mad 257) has given expression to the view that to comment on a case which is sub judice or to suggest that the court should take a certain course in respect of a matter before it undoubtedly constitutes contempt and honesty of motive cannot remove it from this category. Further it is not necessary to consider in such matters whether the Judge will be likely to be influenced or not by such letter. The criterion is whether the act complained of is likely to prejudice the course of justice. In his letter the respondent has referred to his present predicament saying that the finds himself unable to maintain himself or to maintain his large family. All this must have been intended to evoke the sympathy of the Judge hearing his case. The respondent was a police officer and he must certainly have been aware of the impropriety of what he was doing. On his behalf Mr. P. Sherfuddin has expressed regret for what he had done. Indeed the respondent himself has filed an affidavit unconditionally apologising for the mistake committed by him, but having regard to the fact that he was quite aware of what he was ding and for the consequences thereof we are unable to accept the apology. We therefore find him guilty of contempt of court.
But we do not think that having regard to the circumstances of the case and the particular circumstances in which the respondent now finds himself, we need impose anything but a nominal fine. We sentence him to pay a fine of Rs. 10 within three weeks from this date, and in default to suffer simple imprisonment for one week.
(5) Order accordingly.