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S.N. Chakraborty Vs. Bimalendu Mazumdar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectContempt of Court;Criminal
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Misc. Case No. 215 of 1970
Reported inAIR1972Cal352,1972CriLJ1299
ActsContempt of Courts Act, 1952 - Section 1
AppellantS.N. Chakraborty
RespondentBimalendu Mazumdar
Appellant AdvocateS.N. Banerjee, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateK.B. Roy and ;Amaresh Ch. Bhattacharjee, Advs.
Cases ReferredPerspective Publications Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra
- .....the displeasure of the said magistrate. this will be evident from an-nexures c and d. the learned magistrate has taken strong exceptions to the two communications one dt. 1-4-1970. (annexure a) and another dated 6-7-1970 (annexure b) sent by the alleged contemnor both to the district magistrate. 24-parganas, with copies to the s. d. m., the s. p, and the a. s. p.4. now in this first letter dated 1-4-1970 the real point for consideration is whether the following sentences constitute contempt of court. the relevant sentences run as follows :'shri chakrabortv, magistrate, 1st class, barrackpore is not of iudicious temparament and at the same time very much whimsical. that his behaviour is rude and rough and this will bo supported by each and every member of the barrackpore bar and.....

Ajay K. Basu, J.

1. This is a Rule issued by our learned brothers R. N. Dutt and K. K. Mitra. JJ. under Contempt of Court's Act against the opposite party B. Mazumdar alia Baima-lendu Majumdar, M, A., B. L.. Court Inspector. Barrackpore. for contempt of Shri Sailendra Nath Chakrabortv, Magistrate, 1st Class. Barrackpore, as reported to this Hon'ble Court.

2. Pursuant to the direction of this court the alleged contemnor B-Majumdar appeared in person before us and showed cause through his Advocate Sri. K. B. Roy.

3. The short facts leading to the Rule are as follows :

The said Magistrate Sailendra Nath Chakraborty insisted that Court Inspectors must use cartridge or conquest papers in their petitions intended to be filed before the said court. But as the police fund did not permit such expenditure the Court Inspectors could not use such papers in their petitions before the said court and for that the Court Inspector alleged to have incur-red the displeasure of the said Magistrate. This will be evident from An-nexures C and D. The learned Magistrate has taken strong exceptions to the two communications one dt. 1-4-1970. (Annexure A) and another dated 6-7-1970 (Annexure B) sent by the alleged contemnor both to the District Magistrate. 24-Parganas, with copies to the S. D. M., the S. P, and the A. S. P.

4. Now in this first letter dated 1-4-1970 the real point for consideration is whether the following sentences constitute contempt of court. The relevant sentences run as follows :

'Shri Chakrabortv, Magistrate, 1st Class, Barrackpore is not of iudicious temparament and at the same time very much whimsical. That his behaviour is rude and rough and this will bo supported by each and every member of the Barrackpore Bar and also by each and every employee in S. D. M's office who frequently come in contact with him ..... That Shri Chakrabortv has recently passed an order that all petitions and hajiras of witnesses as filed in this court in connection with the police case must be filed in cartridge or conquest papers ..... and making a note 'No notice is taken of the petition as it is not in a cartridge or conquest paper ..... It is surprising that Shri Chakraborty has been accepting petitions in excise cases from the excise prosecutors in quarter size Foolscape papers which are neither cartridge nor conquest papers ..... he is unfavourably disposed towards the police who are being unreasonably discriminated against by the learned Magistrate ... ... ... ... this attitude of Shri Chakraborty towards the Police cases is really unhappy and something may kindly be done immediately to remedy the existing state of affairs.'

Thereafter on the 6th of July. 1970 an Incident happened in court between the said Magistrate and the Court Inspector and the Court Inspector wrote a letter to the District Magistrate on the said date recording the entire incident and sent copies to S. D. M. and S. P. (Exhibit B). In that letter he inter alia wrote :

' ..... Whereupon I said 'well. Sir how will it be possible for O. C. to submit his explanation unless he gets a copy Your honour should not act in a vindictive manner'. aS soon as I said this Shri Chakraborty became exceedinglv excited and flared up and asked his Bench Clerk to go to the door (there is only one door for entrance and exit for the room) and shut the same. Seeing that Shri Chakrabortv had lost his temper and was out to humiliate me in the presence of the Lawyers and litigant I left the Court room.

..... The learned Magistrate had been acting with a bias against the prosecution. It will be very difficult for my Court Inspectors to conduct cases in his court if the learned Magistrate behaves or rather misbehaves with the police officers in the way described above. The learned Magistrate is ill-tempered, suffers from an extraordinary sense of 'Superiority Complex' and hardly loses an opportunity of insulting the police and putting them in trouble.'

The incident happened on the 6th July. 1970. and was duly recorded by the Court Inspector contemporaneously by his letter of the same date, but on the 13th July. 1970 the said Magistrate writes in the order sheet :--

'I had occasion to Go through the copy sent to S. D. O. Barrackpore by the Court Inspector, Barrackpore of the communication addressed by him to the District Magistrate 24-Parganas. through the additional S. P. Barrackpore and the S. P., 24-Parganas. The com-cunication is highly disparaging and it contains contemptuous remarks and comments on my work as a Judge, and also on my temperament. Each and every allegation made regarding my judicial conduct and temperament is false. The communication also contains a false and distorted version of certain incidents taking place in my court on 6-7-1970. I think it would be iust and proper to place the matter before the Hon'ble High Court for favour of considering if appropriate proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act should be drawn up against the author of the communication; and it appears that the conduct of the O. C., Titagarh may incidentally come up for review by their Lordships : and in this circumstance I do not want to proceed any further against the O. C. for repeated non-compliance with my orders.

I would like to note here that the Court Inspector actually uttered words for more contemptuous than he professes to have done in the communication. I may quote them verbatim. 'You are acting vindictively. Why should a Court be so mean ?'

For the ends of iustlce and for the vindication of the dignity of the court, I told the Court Inspector immediately after he had used the invectives against me. that I would proceed against him under Section 480. Criminal P. C. and I at once asked him not to leave the Court room, but he hurriedly left. I did not like to proceed with the matter any further after recording the events in the order sheet, nor did I think it expedient to file a formal complaint before some other Magistrate which would entail a complicated and protracted proceeding.' (Annexure H).

5. On 4th September. 1970 the said Magistrate Shri S. N. Chakraborty wrote a letter to the Registrar of this Court praying for drawing up contempt proceeding against Shri B. Maium-der. Court Inspector. Barrackpore. At first the court directed the Sessions Judge. 24 Parganas to look into the same and settle the matter amicably if possible and report to this Court. But as the officer was on leave and then transferred nothing was done and thereafter the rule was issued.

6. Mr. K. B. Roy, the learned Advocate appearing for the alleged con-temner. submitted that his client did not commit any Contempt of Court but in case this court holds that he had committed any contempt of court his client will tender his unqualified apology and drew Court's attention to paragraph 3 of his affidavit which says,

'At the outset I beg to state that I have the highest regard for this Hon'ble court and also iudiciary as a whole and that I have no desire or intention knowingly or otherwise to violate and/or flout the dignity of the iudiciary in any way. I tender my unqualified apology for any expression used conduct expressed actions done bv me in connection with the matters referred to by Shri S. N. Chakraborty, Magistrate 1st Class. Barrackpore and I crave pardon and put myself at the mercy of the court.'

It may be that the Court Inspector was exasperated and so wrote those two impugned letters. None of those two letters no doubt leaves a bad taste in the mouth and seem to be improper and indecent specially the two phrases 'bias against prosecution' and 'vindictive manner' used against the learned Magistrate are really very unfortunate. But the question is considering all the facts and circumstances of the case can the two communications be regarded as 'Contempt of Court'.

7. The contempt of court has been judicially determined by various judgments of the Supreme Court and the High Courts. The main criterion of contempt is interference or likelihood of interference with the course of justice. Fair and reasonable criticism of the conduct are character of the Judges in relation to the judicial duties does not amount to a contempt. Bona fide complaints against judicial officers addressed to authorities to seek redress for some grievances and not intended to exert pressure upon them in the exercise of judicial functions or to diminish their authority as Judges by vilifying them cannot be treated as Contempts (Rex v. C. B. S. Nayyar. : AIR1950All549 . It has also been held by the Supreme Court that a defamatory attack on a Judge unless it is also calculated to interfere with the due course of justice or proper administration of law by such court will not be treated as contempt of court. (Brahma Prakash Sharma v. State of Uttar Pradesh, : 1954CriLJ238 . Criticism of Judges in relation to something done by them which has absolutely no relevance to their position as Judges or criticism of the executive acts of a judicial officer where he possesses both executive and judicial functions does not amount to contempt. : AIR1950All549

8. Now these comments of the Court Inspector in his communications to the District Magistrate do not, in our view, in any way appear really or substantially to interfere with the course of justice. True the word 'vindictive' used against the Magistrate in open Court is certainly not proper but had it been used to scandalise the judge in his judicial works this might amount to contempt of court. But in the present case those words which were used because of the learned Magistrate's order for not sending a copy, is more an executive order rather than a judicial order.

9. This Court should not exercise its jurisdiction of contempt upon a mere question of propriety as it has been held in several decisions that in order to justify the exercise of the jurisdiction in contempt the interference with the due course must be a substantial interference (Raiendra Kumar Garg v. Shafiq Ahmed Azad, : AIR1957All37 . In Rizwan-ul-Hasan v State of Uttar Pradesh, : 1953CriLJ911 at page 187 it was held :

'the jurisdiction in contempt is not to be invoked unless there is real Prejudice which can be regarded as a substantial interference with the due course of justice and that purpose of the court's action is a practical purpose and it is reasonably clear on the authorities that the Court will not exercise its jurisdiction upon a mere question of propriety.'

Utterance in the open court of offensive words against the Magistrate as we have stated earlier may amount to contempt in different context but a court will not exercise its extraordinary power of contempt in light occasions where the ends of justice do not require its use.

10. Mr. Roy appearing for the alleged contemner drew our attention to a recent Supreme Court judgment reported in Perspective Publications Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra, : 1971CriLJ268 where it is said :

'It Is open to anv one to express fair, reasonable and legitimate criticism of any act or conduct of a Judge in his judicial capacity or even to make a proper and fair comment on any decision given by him because justice is not a cloistered virtue and she must be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful, even though out-spoken, comments of ordinary men.'

The test in each case would be whether the impugned publication is a mere defamatory attack on the judge or whether it is calculated to interfere with the due course of justice or the proper administration of law by his court. It is only in the latter case that it will be punishable as contempt. It is one thing to use improper words and another to commit contempt of court.

11. We have given this matter our anxious consideration. Considering the entire case. Annexure A to I, and the circumstances and from the arguments advanced by the learned Advocates we are convinced that Sri Maium-der is not guilty of contempt of court as we cannot hold that the two communications by the Court Inspector are calculated to interfere with the due course of justice or the proper administration of law by the Court which would amount to contempt of court or tend directly to interfere with the course of justice (Re : S. C. Roy Choudhury, : AIR1952Cal258 .

12. Mr. Banerjee, the learned D. L. R. appearing for the State has left this matter entirely to us.

13. Before we part with this we should observe that it would have been better if the Court Inspector had couched the communications in more tempa-rate language.

14. We, therefore, discharge the Rule.

Borooah, J.

15. I agree.

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