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The State Vs. Nur-ud-dIn Sufi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtJammu and Kashmir High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1955CriLJ1595
AppellantThe State
RespondentNur-ud-dIn Sufi
Cases ReferredBirch v. Walsh
Excerpt:
- .....to be adopted by courts is not only no offence, but even falls within the public duties of such people. the letter written to one of us by the respondent reveals such an impression in the minds of such people. it has to be pointed out to them that since the earliest history of mankind courts of justice have been surrounded by a halo of solemnity. the highest dictates of public policy make it highly desirable and even essential that in the various struggles which are inherent in human society, there should be one institution which can without fear or favour protect the weak and champion the oppressed, and be an arbiter in all disputes between citizen and citizen and also between citizen and the state. if there exists no such institution in a society, such a society will have no claim.....
Judgment:

Wazir, C.J. and Kilam, J.

1. Contempt proceedings were started against the respondent, Kh. Nur-ud-Din Sufi, as a result of a letter which he had written to the Tehsildar Magistrate Ganderbal suggesting to him to take, in a criminal complaint pending before him, a view which would De favourable to the party in whom Nur-ud-Din Sufi was interested. Nur-ud-Din Sufi is a member of the Legislative Assembly and as such carries with himself a certain amount of prestige and influence in the locality. It is obvious that the respondent wrote the letter in question while placing reliance in his influence and high position. But the Tehsildar Magistrate proved himself of a sterner stuff and he forwarded the letter to his superior officers for such action as may be deemed proper.

2. On receipt of the letter in this office, the opinion of the learned Acting Advocate-General was sought. He was of the opinion that the writing of the letter in question constituted contempt of Court. Proceedings were fixed for hearing at Jammu on 22-8-2011 (7-12-54). Before making appearance in the case, the respondent, Nur-ud-Din Sufi wrote a personal letter to one of us in which while protesting against the fixing of hearing at Jammu, he made some very reckless and wild alle- gations against the staff of this Court. In this letter which is a mixture of bluif and bluster, the respondent not only hinted that he was going to contest the show-cause notice issued to him 'for the sole purpose of clearing the path of National workers,' but also 'for opening the eyes of Revenue Magistrates like Ghulam Mohd. Wani Tehsiiaar Ganderbal' who was the recipient of the letter in question. The case ultimately came up for hearing on 27th Phagan 2011 before a Full Bench of this Court.

3. Before proceeding further, it might be stated here that the circumstances which unfolded themselves by and by reveal that the respondent had developed a habit verging on second nature of interfering in cases pending before a Magistrate. Apart from writing to the presiding Magistrates he did not spare even the petty Court clerks to whom he kept on writing letters suggesting various orders that they should secure in those cases. All this would never have seen the light of the day, but lor the fact that at one stage he fell foul of the judicial clerk of the Tehsiiaar Magistrate's Court at Ganderbal and made a complaint of corruption against him. The judicial clerk in his defence produced a number of letters written to him by the said Nur-ud-Din Sufi, M. L. A., with the allegation that since he had failed to carry out the instructions of Nur-ud-Din Sufi given with regard to various cases pending before the Tehsildar Magistrate, he had been entangled in this false case. The case now before us is that Nur-ud-Din Sufi wrote the aforesaid letter to the Tehsildar Magistrate, five letters to the Court clerk, and a private letter to one of us.

4. It appears to us that there is a mis-concep-lion amongst some people dabbling in public attairs here that writing letters to presiding officers of Courts giving them the writer's view point in a particular case and suggesting to them a particular course to be adopted by Courts is not only no offence, but even falls within the public duties of such people. The letter written to one of us by the respondent reveals such an impression in the minds of such people. It has to be pointed out to them that since the earliest history of mankind Courts of Justice have been surrounded by a halo of solemnity. The highest dictates of public policy make it highly desirable and even essential that in the various struggles which are inherent in human society, there should be one institution which can without fear or favour protect the weak and champion the oppressed, and be an arbiter in all disputes between citizen and citizen and also between citizen and the State. If there exists no such institution in a society, such a society will have no claim to civilization and the governing law of such a society will be simply the law of the jungle.

4a. Such being the case, it is the duty of every citizen not only never to interfere with the due administration of justice by Courts, but also to maintain their impartiality and increase the faith of the people in their impartiality. What constitutes contempt of Court has been discussed in an English case 'Birch v. Walsh', (1846) 10 J. Eq. Rule 98 (A) in which it has been held that there is a three-fold classification of contempt of Court. In this judgment we find:

The first class may be described in the language of an eminent person, afterwards on the English Bench thus: 'Where the Court which issued the attachment has awarded some process, given some judgment made some legal order nr time some act;, which the party, against whom it misaim, or others on whom it is binding, have either neglected to neck, contumaciously refused to submit to. incited others to defeat by artifice or force, or treated with terms of contumely or disrespect in the face of the Court, or of its Minister charged with the execution of its acts.' The second class of cases, in which Courts of Equity have exercised the jurisdiction of committing for contempt, are these in which letters or pamphlets have beck addressed to the Judge who had to decide upon lite case, with the intention either by threats or flattery or bribery, to influence his decisions... The third class of cases in which Court of Equity have committed for contempt are those adverted to by Lord Erskine in the case, 'Ex Parte jones'. (1806 13 Ves Jun 237 (B) that in case of constrictive contemps depending upon the interference of an intention to obstruct the course of justice.

5. In England the High Court is treated as a protector of the inferior Courts. In 're R. V. Parke', (1903) 2 KB 432 (C) the learned Judge (Wills J.) has noted that:

Many inferior tribunals are not Courts of Record and, therefore, have no means of checking the practices of the kind with which we are dealing. ...... this Court exercises a vigilant watch over the proceedings of the inferior Courts, and successfully prevents them from usurping powers which they do not possess, or otherwise acting contrary to law. It would seem almost a natural corollary that it should possess correlative powers of guarding them against unlawful attacks and interferences with their independence on the part of others....

But in Kashmir we have a power given to us by the Constitution itself. According to Section 69 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution Act the High Court has the statutory power to punish any person guilty of contempt in relation to itself or to i any Court subordinate to it with fine or imprisonment.

6. We cannot but express our utmost disapproval of such conduct as has been exhibited by the respondent who holds the responsible position of an M. L. A. and from whom a more dignified and responsible attitude on men and affairs is expected. A member of a Legislative Assembly is not expected and should not as a matter of fact take sides in petty squabbles and quarrels that take place amongst illiterate and unsophisticated village folk. What one would expect from such people holding such responsible positions is not to fan the fire of internecine quarrels by taking sides, but to attempt at reconciliations and restoration of mutual good relations amongst warring factions and groups. Let us hope that this remarks of ours will find sympathetic vibrations everywhere.

7. Before us the robes of bluff and bluster put -on earlier by the respondent were cast aside by him, and he adopted a naked attitude of utmost penitence. He threw himself at the mercy of the Court. He further said that 'he (the respondent; is a layman and does not know or understand the niceties of law and never intended to commit any contempt of Court and that he has the highest respect for Courts.' Not only that. He further said that 'he realized his responsibilities' 'and extended an assurance ' that he will not in future interfere with any case in a Court of law.'

8. It indeed caused us a great deal of amusement when we heard from the mouth of a legislator that be did not know law or understand the niceties of law. But in view of the fact that he threw himself at the mercy of this Court and assured the Court that lie will not in future interfere with air-case pending in a Court of law, we think we neck, pursue the matter any further. We, however, warn him that in case he again repeats his exploits, the Court will take a very serious notice. But we trust that his penitence and his assurance have emanated from a heart which has indeed felt and understood the gravity of his unwarranted, unjustified and unjustifiable action With the warning given above. We drop the proceeding against the respondent and let off, and discharge the rule issued against him

Shahmiri , J.

9. I agree.


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