1. In July 1946, an appln. was filed by the present petnrs. before the Municipal Mag. of Calcutta under Section 633, Calcutta Municipal Act, complaining of the existence of a nuisance in premises No. 18 Lake View Road, Calcutta, by reason of keeping of cattle therein. The learned Mag. inspected the place & was satisfied that serious nuisance was being caused due to the keeping of cattle in the said premises. He then passed the following order :
'I, therefore, direct under Section 535 that the Corporation do abate the said nuisance by removal of all cattle from the said premises.
I also direct under Section 388 that the said premises should no longer be used for the purpose of keeping cattle without license under Section 386.
I also direct under Schedule 18 (3) of the Act that the Corporation do properly secure & enclose the said land either by C. I. sheets or by masonry walls of appropriate heights at the cost of the land owners so as to prevent trespass by cattle or men.
Defendants will have three months time from date hereof within which to carry out the above order & in default thereof the Corporation will carry out the same & will be entitled to realise all costs thereof from the defts. Police is directed to render all necessary help to the Corporation in carrying out the order.'
2. In the present petn. which was sworn on 25-9-1950, the petnrs. brought to the notice of this Ct. the fact that up to that time the Mag.'s orders as regards securing & enclosing the land either by corrugated iron sheets or by masonry walls of appropriate heights at the cost of the landowners had not been carried out. Thereupon a rule was issued calling upon the opposite parties, the Administrative Officer & the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation of Calcutta to show cause why they should not be committed for contempt of Ct. or otherwise dealt with in accordance with law.
3. When the rule came up for hearing on 6-12-1950, we were informed that the order of the Mag. had already been carried out. The date when this order was carried out had not been clearly mentioned in the affidavit that was filed on behalf of the opposite parties, but it is abundantly clear that there was considerable delay in carrying out the order. It is worth noticing that it is not mentioned in this affidavit that the order had been carried out before the petn. had been filed in this Ct.
4. Both the opposite parties, however, stated that they had not committed any contempt of Ct. & had not deliberately flouted or disobeyed the order of the Municipal Mag. dated 18-7-1946, & further that the delay was due to administrative & financial difficulties. They also mentioned that action had been taken against the owners of the land & against owners of cattle on several occasions by the Corporation on its own initiative. Thereafter the opposite parties have filed another petn. through their lawyer in which they have expressed their unqualified apology for the delay in carrying out the orders of the learned Mag.
5. We have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that contempt was committed. We are quite prepared to accept the statement of these responsible officers that they did not deliberately flout or disobey the orders of the Municipal Mag. That, however, is of little consequence. The fact remains that the orders were not carried out. If a party obtains an order from the Ct. for getting certain relief & the Ct. has passed an order which, if carried out, would give him instant relief, and because of somebody's failure to carry out the Ct.'s orders he is unable to obtain relief for such a long period as almost four years that is a result which is bound to bring into discredit the administration of justice in the country. In our judgment that is very serious contempt of Ct., in spite of the fact that the officers themselves had no intention to flout the orders of the Ct.
6. In consideration of the fact, however, that the Corporation authorities have on certain occasions taken action on their own initiative to remove the nuisance & that the present opposite parties came into office in April 1950, we think that no further action is called for in view of the unqualified apology that has been given.
7. The rule is disposed of in these terms.