1. This contempt Rule is against Mr. D. Rudra, Mr. B. K. Sarkar and Mr. A. K. Dasgupta, Additional District Magistrates Alipore and the Officer-in-Charge, Beliaghata Police Station in circumstances stated below:
Criminal Appeal No. 86 of 1967 preferred by Shyamsundar Pathak and Kapildeo Narayan Sharma, A. S. I. of Police, Calcutta, against conviction under Section 414 of the Indian Penal Code, was dismissed by this Court by an order dated July 18, 1968 and this order was communicated and received by the District Magistrate on July 20, 1968.
2. The order reads as follows:
'We direct the accused-appellants, namely, Shyamsundar Pathak and Kapildeo Narayan Sharma be called upon to surrender forthwith to their hail to serve out the remainder of sentence imposed upon them.'
3. This order was not, however, carried out by the contemners. Who functioned as Additional District Magistrates, Alipore, during the relevant period, as disclosed during hearing of an application under Article 134(1)(c) of the Constitution filed in September, 1968, and heard some time after long vacation in November, 1968.
4. Sub-rule (5) of Rule 43 of the Criminal Rules and Orders reads as follows:
'In the cases mentioned in Clauses (3) and (4) above the Court by which the accused was admitted to bail shall forthwith call upon the accused to surrender, and issue a notice to the surety in Form No. (P) 65 to produce the accused within three days after the receipt of the notice. If no surrender is made within the period a warrant of arrest shall issue, and at the same time the surety shall be called upon to show cause why his bail bond shall not be forfeited. No extension of the time to surrender or to produce the accused shall be allowed in any case.'
5. In view of the above order by this Court and the relevant Rule, the learned Magistrates should have directed the surety to produce the two persons within three days and on the surety's failure to do that, issue warrants against convicts and forfeit the bail bonds of the surety. The order-sheet of the case does not however indicate that the learned Magistrates were conscious of their obligation to carry out the order of a superior court or that they ever applied their mind. They seemed to be prisoners in the hands of their Bench Clerk and signed whatever draft order was placed before them.
6. The order of this Court was produced before the learned Additional District Magistrate on July 25. 1968 and he signed a routine order in the hand of the Judicial Peshkar directing production of the convicted persons on August 2, 1968, taking no notice of Sub-rule (5) of Rule 43 of the Criminal Rules and Orders. On August 2, the convicted persons were not produced and then followed a series of adjournments at the instance of the surety for production of the convicted persons, apparently taking no notice of the order of this Court for taking them into custody forthwith or of the Rules regarding surrender. The contemners are holding responsible posts in the judicial administration as Additional District Magistrates and they exercise their supervising authority over the Magistrates at the station. Apparently they were never troubled over their authority to extend time on prayer of surety in clear violation of this Court's orders. The orders again did not disclose that they applied their mind, but obviously they signed the draft orders placed before them by the Judicial Peshkar. This continued for several dates and the convicted persons were neither arrested nor the surety pulled up by way of forfeiture of bond. Warrant of arrest is ordered after four adjournments for appearance on 26th August, 1968. Next dale is fixed a month ahead on September 20, 1968 and in the meantime, on September 10, an enquiry was made from this Court regarding surrender. This alerted the officeand an order for drawing up proceeding under Section 514 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is placed before the learned Magistrates and signed by them. This also appears to be a make-believe order, not meant to be carried out and a proceeding is really drawn up on 12-10-68, i.e. 22 days thereafter for showing cause on 25-10-68. On this date the surety filed a petition for time and time was allowed till 11th November. 1968. In the principal record the next date was fixed on October 25, 1968. It is recorded that warrant of arrest was received back with a prayer for extension of time and time was automatically allowed till 11-11-68. In the meantime, the application for certificate of fitness for appeal to the Supreme Court comes up before this Court for hearing on November 8, 1968. The convicted persons, however, surrendered one day before this, that is to say, on the 7th November, 1968. The entire matter appears to have been well planned and the only reasonable inference is that the adjournments were granted according to the plan, chalked out between the convicted persons and some officers in the office of the Additional District Magistrate responsible for assisting the Magistrate in the discharge of his duties. This is apparent from the paragraphs 4 and 5 of the explanation of Sri Sarkar, contemner, where he stated that he virtually signed whatever order was placed before him by the Judicial Peshkar who was earlier directed to place only routine orders, in view of his preoccupations in other urgent executive matters.
7. It is apparent from the state of the record that the Additional District Magistrates, Sri Sarkar and Sri Rudra, junior members in the Indian Administrative Service, had at no time any control over the case or the record and the Judicial Peshkar could get any order signed by them. Obviously, they did not know the correct legal position nor had any opportunity of ascertaining it and were completely inexperienced to deal with court cases and therefore had to rely upon the Bench Clerk. Added to this, there was extra work allotted to them as enumerated in the affidavit of Sri Sarkar. The Additional District Magistrate is in a pivotal position of the judiciary in the district, being the Additional District Magistrate in charge of the Criminal Administration, and such administration would obviously be in a quandary. We are prepared to accept that these officers did not wilfully override any order of this Court. But the entire trouble was due to the fact that it was not a case of the Additional District Magistrate controlling the Judicial Peshkar but the latter controlling the Magistrate. The blame in our view, should squarely rest on the State Government which puts such young officers without any experience whatsoever in judicial work, as Additional District Magistratesand burdens them with multifarious miscellaneous work, thereby betraying lack of appreciation of the importance of Administration of Criminal Justice. In olden times, Senior Deputy Magistrates with experience in judicial work were drafted for such position. But the old order has changed and we have now the rule of the Administrative Services with a nostalgic attitude towards Court and administration of justice and running of the judicial administration is left in the hands of inexperienced young officers who had neither the training in law nor the inclination and desire to learn the law but who carried on the work relying on the judicial Peshkar for their law and for the administration of the departments.
8. The matter did not end here. This Court by an order dated November 15, 1968, asked for a report from the District Magistrate as to circumstances in which the Court's order for arrest of the two convict constables was not complied with and also for the record of the case to be submitted within seven days from the date of receipt of this order. No notice was taken of this order from this Court; neither was report sent, nor did the record arrive in this Court. The only alternative left for this Court in the circumstances was to issue on 11-12-68 a Rule calling upon the District Magistrate to show cause why proceedings for contempt shall not be drawn up for failure to give effect to the order of this Court dated the 18th July, 1968 and subsequent orders calling for the record and report. Only thereafter, the contemner, Mr. D. Rudra, Additional District Magistrate, sent the record with the report asked for with a forwarding letter dated November 14, 1968. There was a formal expression of regret regarding the delay in submitting the report and the records. This report unfortunately is neither full nor does it disclose the entire facts correctly. The report does not disclose that even after the record was placed before him for orders on 25-7-68 as many as three adjournments for production of the accused persons were granted on bare petitions of the surety, often to enable the convicts to prefer appeal to the Supreme Court. It was stated that proceedings under Section 514 of the Code of Criminal Procedure against the sureties were drawn up. But here also, there was no clear disclosure as to when order for drawing up of proceedings was passed and when proceedings in fact were started. The record disclosed that the proceedings were actually drawn up 22 days after the order for drawing up proceedings was passed. Obviously this also was a report in the hands of the Judicial Peshkar, but it is unfortunate that Mr. Rudra did not personally care to check up the report to make sure that a full and complete report is sent to this Court.
9. The next stage comes when the warrant of arrest was issued. The AdditionalDistrict Magistrate has reported that the officer-in-charge, Beliaghata police station did not execute the warrant of arrest and returned the same and wanted extension of time. This order of arrest was passed on August 20, 1908 and it took 8 days to reach Beliaghata police station from Alipore. Eighteen days thereafter the warrants were returned unexecuted with a prayer for extension of time on the ground that the two policemen could not he traced. The explanation, in our view, is worse than the fault, namely, the failure to carry out the court's order. Shyam Narayan Pathak and Kapildeo Narayan Sharma are two policemen. Assistant Sub-Inspectors of Police and they were under suspension during the trial. It is unlikely that their whereabouts would be unknown to the police or that they would he untraceable while their sureties were applying for extension of lime to produce, to enable them to appeal to Supreme Court. The time was extended and a report came only after these two men surrendered on November 7, one day before the date fixed for hearing of the application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court that they have surrendered. The warrant was, therefore, never executed and the entire thing was arranged in such a way that the two persons had no occasion to surrender before the application for certificate got ready for hearing. Here also either the Officer-in-Charge had no control over his men or he took lukewarm interest in discharging duties by way of arresting the two persons when the warrants were sent by the Additional District Magistrate, Alipore. This is hardly type of a man who makes out a good officer-in-charge of a police station in Calcutta, upon whom the peace in the area and life and property of the citizen can be entrusted.
10. Having considered all aspects of the matter we now proceed to consider the explanation offered by the contemners. So far as Mr. Das Gupta is concerned, we find that the only order passed by him is for drawing up of proceeding under Section 514 of the Code of Criminal Procedure against the surety and he, therefore, virtually played no part in the matter and he must be found not to have committed any contempt of the orders of this Court.
11. So far as Mr. Rudra and Mr. Sarkar arc concerned, they have offered full apology and have candidly pointed out that they were neither aware of the implication of the orders which were put up before them for signature by the Judicial Peshkar; nor did they in any way mean to by-pass any order of this Court. From what we have pointed out earlier it also seems to us that there is something wrong in the subordinate staff there and that the young officers sent there as Additional District Magistrates can hardly exercise the type of control which one should expect them to do, for efficiently running the administration of justice. Both of them are junior officers still to pick up that type of experience which would be necessary in controlling the staff at Alipore and to saddle them with that responsibility for carrying on the judicial administration of the District and further to burden them with multifarious executive duties is hardly expected to yield better results. Naturally they depended too much upon the Judicial Peshkar who it seems, could get any order signed by them j They do not seem to have, for reasons explained by them any grip over the matter at any stage even in sending a report to this Court or in dealing with the delinquents after they found that they were misguided and landed into difficulty. The machinery assisting the Additional District Magistrates at Alipore--perhaps the same state of affairs will he found in other Districts too--require over-hauling.
11-A. Mr. Rudra and Mr. Sarkar are undoubtedly guilty of contempt of Court but we accept the apology tendered by them. The same observation will apply to the police officer, namely, officer-in-charge of Beliaghata police station, who neglected to execute the warrant of arrest sent by the Additional District Magistrate. Against him also, we do not proceed further in imposing any punishment, but warn him against recurrence of similar conduct in dealing with Court's orders.
12. Before we end we may, however, point out to the contemners and through them, to all concerned the recent observations of the Supreme Court in Criminal Appeal No. 55 of 1905, Dcbabrata Bandopadhyay v. State of West Bengal, : 1969CriLJ401 . The relevant portion reads as follows:
'We, however, caution all concerned that orders of stay, bail, injunctions received from superior courts must receive close and prompt attention and unnecessary delay in dispatching or dealing with them may well furnish grounds for an inference that it was due to a natural disinclination to deal with the matter born of indifference and sometimes even of contumaciousness.'
13. We have accepted the apology tendered by them and the matter is not, therefore, proceeded with any further and the Rules are disposed of accordingly.
K.K. Mitra, J.
14. I agree.