N.C. Talukdar, J.
1. This Rule was issued upon the two opposite parties, viz., Thakolal Ganguly, Secretary, Council of Shebaits and Provat Kumae Mukherjee, Secretary Kalighat Temple Committee to show cause as to why they should not be dealt with for contempt of this Court foe having violated the order of injunction passed by this Court on the 25th of October, 1968 in Civil Rule No. 7348 (w) of 1968.
2. The facts leading on to the Rule may be put in short compass. The present two petitioners Dhrubadeo Tewari and Bhagaban Panda as well as one Kanai Lal Chakraborty describing themselves as Sathi Brahmins by profession-a class of pujaris who accompany the pilgrims inside the temple at Kalighat and offer pujas to the deity on their behalf filed an application in the Constitutional Writ Jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and obtained a Rule Nisi on the 25th October, 1968, calling upon the four respondents including the Kalighat Temple Committee and the Council of Shebaits to show cause why a Writ in the nature of Mandamus should not be issued directing them and/or their agents or servants notices and/or in any way to give effect to the same and further not to demand and/or realise any amount by way of entrance fees from the petitioners and to withdraw, rescind and cancel the impugned notices referred to in prayer (a) of the petition and incorporated in annexure 'A' collectively. An interim order of injunction in terms of prayer (d) was also passed on the same date by this Court restraining the respondents and their agents and servants from giving any effect to the impugned notices and/or to take any action in pursuance of the impugned notices and/or in any way to give effect to the same and further not to demand and/or realise any amount by way of entrance fees from the petitioners. The order of injunction, according to the petitioners, was communicated on the same day, viz., the 25th October, 1968 to the present two oontemners by the petitioners' Advocate Mr. Samir Kumar Mukherjee. In spite of the same, however, the opposite party No. 2 to the present Rule for contempt, Provat Kumar Mukherjee, Secretary, Kalighat Temple Committee, issued a notice dated the 30th November, 1968 purporting to implement the impugned notices with effect from Tuesday, the 11th Chaitra, 1375 B. S. A. copy of the said notice was annexed to the petition and marked with the letter 'A' for identification. Besides the same, on and from the 25th March, 1969 the abovementioned two opposite parties purporting to act as the Secretaries of their respective committees, started demanding fees from the petitioners and tried to compel them to submit Introduction Forms and pay Gate-fees in compliance with the impugned notices mentioned before. On the 31st March, 1969 similar demands were made and on a refusal by the petitioners to comply with the same and a reference by them to the existence of the ad interim order of injunction passed by this Court, the two opposite-parties are stated to have expressed that they are under no obligation to comply with the High Court's direction and prevented the petitioners from entering into the temple precincts with the help of their durwans. The said durwan dragged the petitioners into the office of the Kalighat Temple Committee, where they were forced to sign two blank papers. The petitioners, soon after the incident lodged two General Diaries being G. D. NOB. 4548 and 4549 at the Bhowanipore Police Station regarding the aforesaid incident. The petitioners further averred that the opposite parties had in fact admitted their knowledge about the existence of the abovementioned interim order of injunction in the two applications affirmed on Affidavits, filed by them in this Court on 3-2-69, for vacating and or varying or modifying the interim order of injuction passed by this Court. The petitioners accordingly filed the present application in the special jurisdiction of this Court on the 1st April, 1969 for drawing up proceeding for contempt because the opposite-parties ate guilty, in the facts and circumstances referred to above, of a contamacious conduct by wilfully and deliberately violating the interim order of injunction issued by this Court. Affidavits-in-opposition affirmed on the 17th and the 16th April, 1969 respectively were filed by the two opposite-parties in connection with the said application. The present Rule was issued on the 28th April, 1969. Two Affidavits-in-opposition affirmed on the 28th May, 1969, on behalf of the two contemners as well as an Affidavit-in-reply on behalf of the petitioner affirmed on the 5th June, 1969 were duly filed thereafter.
3. Mr. Samir Kumar Mukherjee, Advocate, appearing on behalf of the petitioners, has made a two-fold submission, He contended in the first place that the opposite-party No. 2, viz., the Secretary of the Kalighat Temple Committee has acted in contumacious disregard of the order of injunction passed by this Court by issuing a notice dated the 30th November 1968, purporting to implement the impugned notices with effect from the 11th Chaitra, 1375 B.S. The second contention of Mr. Mukherjee is that, both the opposite-parties, purporting to act as Secretaries of their respective committees have wilfully and deliberately violated the said interim order of injunction issued on the 25th October, 1968, by starting (demand of fees from the petitioners and trying to compel them to submit Introduction Forms and pay Gate-fees in compliance with the impugned notices and also by making similar demands on the 31st March, 1969, when the petitioners refused to do so and referred to the pending interim order of injunction passed by this Court. The opposite parties thereupon stated that they were under no obligation to comply with the order of injunction and with the help of their durwans prevented the petitioners from entering into the temple precincts and dragging the petitioners with the help of the durwans into the office of the Kalighat Temple Committee where they were forced to sign two blank papers. Two G. D. Entries being G. D. Nos. 4548 and 4549 were accordingly filed at the Bhowanipur Police Station regarding the aforesaid occurrence soon after the incident. Mr. Tarak Nath Boy, Advocate, appearing on behalf of the contemner No. 1, Thakolall Ganguly, Secretary Council of Shebaits, filed an Affidavit-in-opposition categorically denying the allegation made by the petitioners as wholly unfounded and made in order to obtain the present Rule for con-tempt and foe delaying the bearing of the Civil Rule Nisi No. 1207(w) of 1969 so that the Sathi Brahmins may carry on their trade in an uninterrupted manner without observing any discipline in the temple. Mr. Boy finally submitted that his client is a law-abiding citizen and there has not only been no violation of the interim order of injunction on his part wilful or otherwise, but it had never been or is his intention to act in a contumacious disregard of any order passed by this Court.
4. Mr. J. N. Ghosh, Advocate (with Mr. D. N. Lahiri, Advocate), appearing on behalf of the contemner No. 2, Provat Kumar Mukherjee, Secretary, Kalighat Temple Committee also filed an Affidavit in opposition stating that the Rule for contempt was obtained by suppression of material facts and that the allegations made are wholly unfounded. It was averred in the said Affidavit-in-opposition that the opposite-party No. 2 made an application for vacating an interim order of injunction issued in Civil-Rule Nisi No. 7348(w) of 1968 and upon applications and Affidavits being made, the said Rule was listed for hearing on Tuesday, 1-4-69 before Mr. Justice B. C, Mitra but to delay and defeat the ends of justice the present Application for contempt was filed on the 1st April, 1969 and the same being mentioned the application vacating the interim order could not be heard on that day. It was further categorically denied in the said Affidavit-in-opposition by the contemner No. 2 that the notice dated the 30th November, 1968 annexed to the petition as Annexure 'A' is a false and fabricated document never issued by the said contemner who has neither any power nor any reason to issue the same. The allegation made in paragraph 6 of the petition have also been categorically denied by the contemner No. 2 in paragraph 8 of the Affidavit-in-opposition. It was denied that any fees were demanded any time after the Rule was issued and the petitioner along with other Sathi Brahmins and Char Brahmins and others have been carrying on their profession freely and it was further denied in paragraph 9 of the Affidavit- in-opposition that the story of dragging the petitioners and making them sign blank papers, is wholly concocted. It was also averred that some agents of Sathi Brahmins filed a suit in the Alipore Court on the same issue and while it was pending, the three petitioners in Civil Rule No. 7348 (w) of 1968 started the said proceedings in the High Court and obtained an order of injunction, followed by the present Rule for con. tempt, delaying the implementation of the directions passed previously by this Court as well as the Supreme Court of India earlier. Mr. Ghosh in this connection submitted that the prayer for injunction was rejected in the said suit. It was finally submitted on behalf of the contemner No. 2 that he did not disobey or violate an order of this Court as alleged and had no intention to disrespect or disobey the order passed by this Court but bad been merely pursuing the liberty granted by this Court in trying to have vacated the order of injunction as referred to above.
5. I have heard the learned Advocates appearing on behalf of the respective parties and I have gone through the petition and the annexures, as well as the affidavits-in opposition and the affidavit-in-reply filed on behalf of the parties. This Rule involves a short point for consideration. The contempt alleged relates to the violation of an order of ad interim injunction passed by this Court on the 25th October, 1968 in Civil Rule No. 7348(w) of 1968 and is said to have been committed in two ways, firstly by the issue of a notice dated the 30th November, 1968 purported to have been signed by the contemner No. 2 and issued for the purpose of implementing the impugned notices in Civil Rule No. 7348 (w) of, 1968. In paragraph 5 of the petition upon which the present Rule for contempt was issued and relating to this Count of contempt, the petitioners have implicated only the contemner No. 2, The contemner No. 1, in para, graphs 4 and 5 of his Affidavit-in-opposition affirmed on the 28th May, 1960 has however stated that he had no knowledge of the notice referred to therein at any time and that neither the said contemner nor the office of the Council of Shebaits received or had any knowledge of such a notice. In paragraphs 8 and 9 of his affidavit-in-opposition affirmed on the 28th May, 1969, the contemner No. 2 has clearly and categorically denied the said allegations. He has described therein the notice dated the 30th November, 1968, purporting to implement the impugned notices with effect from 11th Chaitra, 1375 B.S., to a false and fabricated document for issuing which the said contemner neither had any reason nor even any power without the resolution of the Ilalighat Temple Committee, the competent authority under the scheme framed by the High Court and the Supreme Court of India. The opposite-party No. 1 further stated that this notice was fabricated in order to delay the hearing of the Civil Rule No. 7348 (w) of 1968 and to circumvent the liberty granted by the High Court for vacating the ad interim order of injunction for which, steps were already taken and the matter was listed for hearing on the 1st April, 1969 before Mr. Justice B. C. Mitra. The petitioners reiterated their original statements in their Affidavit-in-reply affirmed on the 5th June, 1969. It will clearly appear from the notice referred to in paragraph 5 of the petition marked with the letter 'A' for identification, that it is but a printed one and the signature below, authorising the same, is also a printed one. It is not possible to connect the contemner with a printed publication and find him guilty of contempt on that basis as also on the basis of the Affidavits referred to above. Mr. Mukherjee appearing on behalf of the applicants has contended that there is no reason why third parties, not interested in the present issue, would print and publish such notices, enuring to the benefit of the two opposite parties. There is no reason again, as Mr. Ghosh contended, that the two contemners would print such notices because they had submitted to the jurisdiction of the Court and had taken categorical steps for vacating the interim order of injunction, within the bounds of the liberty given by the Court and that the same application was in the list for bearing on the 1st April 1969. Suspicion alone is not proof and contempt of court being a special jurisdiction, I cannot find the two opposite parties guilty merely on such suspicion. Of things that do not exist and things that do not appear, the reckoning in a Court of law is the game and I accordingly hold that there has been no contempt as alleged or at all on this first count.
6. The second part of the contempt alleged relates to the events taking place on and from the 25th March, 1969 and culminating in the incidents on the 31st March, 1969 but it again does not stand on a better footing. The allegations, as contained in paragraph 6 of the petition upon which this Bale for contempt was issued, have been clearly and categorically denied in paragraph 6 of the affidavit-in-opposition filed on behalf of the opposite party No. 1 and in paragraphs 10 and 11 of the affidavit-in-opposition filed on behalf of the opposite party No. 2. The opposite party No. 1, Thakolal Ganguly, Secretary, Council of Shebaits, in paragraph 6 of his affidavit-in-opposition affirmed on the 28th May, 1969, has denied the said allegations as false and stated that no fees were demanded from the petitioners and no gate-fees and introduction forms were asked for from them as alleged and that the petitioners were never dragged by the durwans or prevented from entering into the temple and ultimately forced to sign blank papers as alleged or at all. it was averred therein that no action of this nature could be taken against the petitioners without the resolution of the Kalighat Temple Committee and the previous opinion of the Council of Shebaita and that the present applications were levelled for the purpose of delaying the hearing of the Civil Rule No. 7348 (w) of 1968. It was categorically denied in the said paragraph that the opposite party concerned ever expressed that they were under no obligation to comply with the directions of the Hon'ble High Court. In paragraph 10 of the affidavit-in-opposition affirmed on the 28th May, 1969 by the opposite party No. 2, Provat Kumar Mukherjee, Secretary, Kalighat Temple Committee, the said allegations have been denied as false and concocted. It was stated therein that no fees were demanded at any time after the Rule was issued uptill now, and that some agents of the Sati Brahmins and Char Brahmins carrying on the said business, filed in the first instance, a suit in the Alipore Court in the same issue and while it was pending, the three petitioners in Civil Rule No. 7348 (w) of 1968 started the said proceedings in this Court followed by the present contempt proceedings with the avowed intention of delaying the implementation to the directions given previously by the High Court as well as the Supreme Court of India. In paragraph 11 of the said Affidavit-in-opposition the opposite party No. 2, has categorically denied the story of dragging the petitioners and/or making them sign blank papers as wholly concocted. The said opposite party cannot even imagine or think of any such action of violating the orders of this Hon'ble Court and being law-abiding citizen has been obeying the orders of the Court to the very letter and at no time he had any intention or even power to disrespect or violate the Rule issued by this Hon'ble Court, The opposite party No. 2 termed the allegations in paragraph 8 as wholly false and prayed for the protection of this Court as law-abiding citizen and an officer-bearer under the scheme framed by the High Court and the Supreme Court of India. It was further stated that the opposite party had acted within the bounds of the direction given by this Court by taking action for vacating the Rule but the hearing of the same has been prevented by the filing of this application for contempt upon unfounded allegations. The petitioners reiterated their original statements in their affidavit-in-reply affirmed on the 5th June, 1969. It is to be noted in this context that there are no supporting affidavits filed on behalf of petitioners corroborating the allegations contained in paragraph 6 of the petition upon which the present Rule was issued. The two General Diary Entries also referred to in the said paragraph are not forthcoming and the dates of the said diaries have not also been specifically mentioned. In this view of the matter and in the view of the affidavits referred to above, it is not possible to hold that there has been any contumacious disregard on the part of the opposite parties. Nos. 1 and 2, of the interim order of injunction passed by this Court. The second part of the petitioners' case for contempt accordingly fails.
7. The law relating to contempt has to be properly understood before an alleged contemner can be held guilty of a contumacious disregard of an order passed by the Court affecting thereby the dignity and authority of the Court and interfering with the course of justice. The phrase contempt of Court or contemptuous curiae has been in use for centuries and the offence, even though not as old as the hills, is as old as the law itself, Oswald in his 'Contempt of Court' (3rd Edn. 1910), has defined contempt of Court as follows : 'To speak generally, contempt of Court may be said to be constituted by any con. duct that tends to bring the authority and administration of the law into disrespect or disregard, or to interfere with or prejudice parties litigant, their witnesses during the litigation.' It has been elaborated by Williams J., in the case of Miller v. Knox (1883) 4 Bing N C 574, at p. 589 that 'It commonly consists in a party's doing otherwise than he is enjoined to do or not doing what he is commanded or required by the process, order or decree of the Court.' Contempt of Court, however, is not an ordinary proceeding and the question involved is a serious one. The High Court has 'inherent' jurisdiction foe contempt of itself, and as has been observed by Mr. Justice P. B. Mnkharji, delivering the judgment of the Court, in the case of State v. Debabrata Bandopadhyay : AIR1964Cal572 that 'appropriately this is called the inherent jurisdiction special to the High Court.' As was observed by Oswald in his book on ''Contempt of Court,' 'this jurisdiction must, however, be exercised with care and the disobedience must be wilful.' In this context a reference was made by Oswald to the case of Gay v. Hancock (1887) 56 LT 726. Mr, Justice Kay observed therein at p. 823 that 'this Court should exercise a very great care in putting into force its power and sending persons to prison.' It is quite true that the halo of solemnity surrounding the Courts of justice since the dawn of civilization should not be allowed to be disturbed by a blatant interference with its orders, defiling thereby the sacred temples where justice is dispensed by the high priests, the Judges. Lord Atkins observed in the case of Ambard v. Attorney General 1986 A C 322 at p. 823 : AIR 1936 PC 141 that 'Everyone will recognize the importance of maintaining the authority of Court in restraining and punishing interference with the administration of justice.' But the same is to be done with due caution and care, In the case of In re P.C. Sen, Chief Minister of West Bengal, : AIR1966Cal411 Mr. Justice B. N. Banerjee observed at p. 592 (of Cal W N) : (at p. 417 of AIR) that 'The power of committal for contempt must be wielded with the greatest of care and caution, should be exercised with the greatest of reluctance and the greatest of anxiety and only with the object of seeing that the dignity and authority of the Court be not impaired.' In this context I may further refer to the observations made by Chief Justice M. Hidayatullah delivering the judgment of the Court in the case of Debabrata Bandopadhyay v. State of Weak, Bengal reported in : 1969CriLJ401 that ''A question whether there is contempt of Court or not is a serious one....It is only when a clear case of contumacious conduct not explainable otherwise, arises that the contemner must be punished .... Punishment under the law of contempt is called for when the lapse is deliberate and in disregard of one's duty and in defiance of authority. To take action in an unclear case is to make the law of contempt, do duty for other measures and is not to be encouraged.' I respectfully agree with the said observations and I hold, on the basis of the materials appearing on the record, that this is also an 'unclear case' and that the two alleged contemners are not guilty of any contumacious disregard of the order of injunction passed by this Court.
8. In the result, I discharged the rule. Let the affidavits filed in Court be kept on the record.