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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Contempt of court - High court imposed fine of Rs.20,000/- Apex court held that Section 12(1) of the Act provides that if the court is satisfied that contempt of court has been committed, it may punish the contemnor with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to Rs.2,000/-, or with both. Section 12(2) further provides that “notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, no court shall impose a sentence in excess of that specified in sub-section (1) for any contempt either in respect of itself or of a court subordinate to it.” Thus, the power to punish for contempt of the court is subject to limitations prescribed in sub-section (2) of the Act.= Bal Kishan Giri …Appellant Versus State of U.P. …Respondent= 2014 (May.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41546

 Contempt of court - High court imposed fine of Rs.20,000/- Apex court held that Section 12(1)  of  the  Act  provides  that  if  the  court  is satisfied that contempt of court has been committed, it may punish  the contemnor with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend  to  six months, or with fine which may extend to Rs.2,000/-, or with both. Section 12(2)  further  provides  that  “notwithstanding  anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, no court  shall impose a sentence in excess of that specified in  sub-section  (1)  for any contempt either in respect of itself or of a court  subordinate  to it.”   Thus, the power to punish for contempt of the  court is subject to limitations prescribed in sub-section (2) of the Act.=


    21.     Hence, in view of the above, the fine of Rs.20,000/- imposed on
    the appellant by the High Court by way of impugned judgment and  order,
    is reduced to Rs.2,000/- and is  directed  to  deposit  the  said  fine
    forthwith.

  Power of courts to punish for contempt is to secure public respect
    and confidence in judicial process.  Thus, it is a  necessary  incident
    to every court of justice.


    18.     Being a member of the Bar, it was his duty not  to  demean  and
    disgrace the majesty of justice dispensed by a court of law.  It  is  a
    case where insinuation of bias and predetermined mind has been  leveled
    by a practicing lawyer against three judges of the High  Court.    Such
    casting of bald, oblique, unsubstantiated aspersions against the judges
    of High Court not only causes agony and anguish to the judges concerned
    but also shakes the confidence of the public in the  judiciary  in  its
    function of dispensation of justice.  The judicial process is based  on
    probity, fairness and impartiality which is unimpeachable.  Such an act
    especially by members of Bar who  are  another  cog  in  the  wheel  of
    justice is highly  reprehensible  and  deeply  regretted.   Absence  of
    motivation is no excuse.


    19.     In view of the above, we are of the considered opinion that the
    High Court has not committed any error in not accepting the appellant’s
    apology since the same is not bona fide. There might have been an inner
    impulse of outburst as the appellant alleges that his nephew  had  been
    murdered, but that is no  excuse  for  a  practicing  lawyer  to  raise
    fingers against the court.


    20.     Section 12(1)  of  the  Act  provides  that  if  the  court  is
    satisfied that contempt of court has been committed, it may punish  the
    contemnor with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend  to  six
    months, or with fine which may extend to Rs.2,000/-, or with both.
          Section 12(2)  further  provides  that  “notwithstanding  anything
    contained in any other law for the time being in force, no court  shall
    impose a sentence in excess of that specified in  sub-section  (1)  for
    any contempt either in respect of itself or of a court  subordinate  to
    it.”               Thus, the power to punish for contempt of the  court
    is subject to limitations prescribed in sub-section (2) of the Act.


    21.     Hence, in view of the above, the fine of Rs.20,000/- imposed on
    the appellant by the High Court by way of impugned judgment and  order,
    is reduced to Rs.2,000/- and is  directed  to  deposit  the  said  fine
    forthwith.


    22.     We find no force in the appeal which is accordingly  dismissed.
    The appellant must surrender to  serve  out   the  sentence  forthwith,
    failing which, the learned Chief  Judicial  Magistrate,  Meerut,  would
    secure his custody and send him to jail to serve out the  sentence.   A
    copy of the order be sent to the  learned  Chief  Judicial  Magistrate,
    Meerut, for information and compliance.  


2014 (May.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41546
P SATHASIVAM, A.K. SIKRI
                               REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 555 OF 2010
      Bal Kishan Giri
      …Appellant
                                   Versus
      State of U.P.
               …Respondent


                               J U D G M E N T
      Dr. B.S. Chauhan,J.
      1.    In this appeal,  impugned  judgment  and  order  dated  5.2.2010
      passed by the High  Court  of  Judicature  at  Allahabad  in  Contempt
      Application (Crl.) No. 15  of  2009,  by  which  the  appellant  stood
      convicted for committing criminal contempt  under  the  provisions  of
      Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 (hereinafter referred to  as  the  ‘Act’)
      and sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment for one month and to  pay
      a fine of Rs.20,000/- and in default to  undergo  simple  imprisonment
      for two weeks, has been assailed.


      2.    Facts and circumstances giving rise to this appeal are that:
      A.    An FIR was lodged in P.S. Baleni, District Baghpat on  23.5.2008
      by Anil Kumar, appellant in connected Criminal Appeal No. 686 of  2010
      alleging that his younger brother Sunil Kumar alongwith  Puneet  Kumar
      Giri, who were residing in Sitaram Hostel of the Meerut College,  were
      not traceable and went missing the previous evening.   Another  inmate
      of the same hostel Sudhir Kumar was  also  reported  untraceable.  The
      very next day, three dead bodies of  the  said  missing  persons  were
      found on the banks of river Hindon. A   criminal  case  was  therefore
      registered.


      B.    During investigation, it  came  to  the  notice  of  the  police
      authorities that the place of occurrence fell within  the  territorial
      jurisdiction of P.S. Kotwali, Meerut, and thus investigation on  being
      transferred to P.S. Kotwali, Meerut, the case was registered  as  Case
      Crime No.190/2008.


      C.    During investigation, many accused persons  including  one  Haji
      Izlal were arrested. They moved bail applications  before  the  Meerut
      Distt. Court which stood rejected. Aggrieved, all the accused  persons
      filed bail applications before the High Court of Allahabad. It was  on
      14.8.2009 during the  pendency  of  the  said  applications  that  the
      appellant submitted an application to the  Hon’ble  Chief  Justice  of
      Allahabad High Court alleging that the accused therein were  gangsters
      and had accumulated assets worth crores of rupees  by  their  criminal
      activities. The accused persons were closely related to a local M.L.A.
      and Ex. M.P. and they had links with the  Judges  of  the  High  Court
      including Mr. Justice S.K. Jain who had earlier served as  a  judicial
      officer in Meerut Court. The appellant expressed his apprehension that
      Mr. Justice S.K. Jain would favour the accused persons to get bail.  A
      copy of the said complaint was also sent to the Chairman, Bar  Council
      of U.P.


      D.    The High Court examined the complaint and placed the  matter  on
      the judicial side on 12.11.2009. The court issued a show cause  notice
      dated 14.8.2009 to the appellant  as  to  why  the  criminal  contempt
      proceedings be not initiated against him under the provisions  of  the
      Act.


      E.     The  appellant  submitted  an   unconditional   apology   dated
      21.11.2009 submitting that the application was sent by him as  he  had
      been misguided by the advocates of District Meerut and he was in great
      mental tension as his nephew had been murdered.
      F.     The  High  Court  after  completing  the  trial  convicted  the
      appellant vide impugned judgment and order dated 5.2.2010 and  awarded
      the sentence as referred to hereinabove.
            Hence, this appeal.


      3.    Mr. J.M.  Sharma,  learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for  the
      appellant has  submitted  that  the  show  cause  notice  was  not  in
      consonance with the provisions  of  Chapter  XXXV-E,  Rule  6  of  the
      Allahabad High Court Rules,  1952  (hereinafter  referred  to  as  the
      Rules). Thus, all subsequent proceedings stood vitiated. More so,  the
      appellant is a practicing advocate and had written the said  complaint
      under a mental tension as his nephew had been murdered, and  on  being
      misguided by the advocates of the Meerut Court. Once the appellant has
      tendered an absolute and unconditional  apology,  punishment  was  not
      warranted and fine  imposed  therein  is  contrary  to  the  statutory
      provisions of the Act. Thus, the appeal deserves to be allowed.


      4.    Per contra, Mr. Irshad Ahmad, learned counsel appearing for  the
      State has opposed the appeal contending that very wild and  scandalous
      allegations had been made by the appellant not only against one  judge
      but against various judicial officers and merely tendering an  apology
      is not enough. As the appellant had accepted that he had  written  the
      letter and also owned its contents, and filed the reply  to  the  show
      cause notice issued to him, even if, the statutory rules have not been
      complied with, the order would not stand vitiated.  The  appeal  lacks
      merit and is liable to be dismissed.


      5.    We have considered the rival submissions made by learned counsel
      for the parties and perused the record.


      6.    The relevant part of the complaint filed by the appellant  reads
      as under:
           “4.   That Akhalakh family have good connection with all  judges
           posted at Meerut. Hon. Mr. Justice  S.C.  Nigam  was  posted  in
           Meerut in the year 1981 to 1984 and  2002-03  on  the  posts  of
           Addl. Civil Judge/A.C.J.M. and Addl. District &  Sessions  Judge
           respectively. Hon. Justice Mr. S.K.  Jain  was  also  posted  at
           Meerut as Additional District & Sessions Judge in 2002-03.


           5.    That all the Hon. Justices V.K. Verma, S.K. Jain and  S.C.
           Nigam have been promoted as High Court Judges from the cadre  of
           District Judges. Hon. Justice Mr. S.K.  Jain  and  Hon.  Justice
           S.C. Nigam remained posted in Civil Court Meerut  as  Additional
           District Judge together  in  the  year  2002-03  and  have  been
           promoted from Meerut Judgeship to the cadre of  District  Judge.
           They are very good friends. Hon. Mr. Justice V.K. Verma also has
           very good intimacy with them. They have made a caucus with  V.P.
           Srivastava, Senior Advocate of Allahabad High Court for granting
           major bails to known accused in  criminal  cases  illegally  and
           with ulterior motives.


                 Hon. Justice V.K. Verma has granted bails to  two  accused
           namely Rizwan and Wassim in aforesaid famous triple murder  case
           of Meerut in bail application No.924 of 2009 and 1238 of 2009 on
           17.7.2009 illegally and with ulterior motives.”




      7.    The appellant/complainant further expressed his apprehension  of
      having no confidence and faith in any  of  the  three  Judges  of  the
      Allahabad High Court as they could pass any order  at  the  behest  of
      Shri V.P. Srivastava, Senior Advocate.
           In sum and substance, the offending part of the  allegation  had
      been as under:
           (1) Akhlaq had good relations with Mr. Justice S.C.  Nigam  from
           the date since he was posted at Meerut on three terms, (2)  that
           justice V.K. Verma had good intimacy  with  the  family  of  the
           accused and the accused have made a clique  alongwith  one  V.P.
           Srivastava,  Senior  Advocate  of  Allahabad  High   Court   for
           procuring major bails illegally and with ulterior  motives.  Mr.
           Justice V.K. Verma has  admitted  bail  to  two  accused  namely
           Rizwan and Wasim illegally and with ulterior motives. The  three
           Judges (V.K. Verma, S.K. Jain and S.C. Nigam) may pass any order
           at the behest of V.P. Srivastava, Senior Advocate.




     8.     The allegations made by the appellant against the  3  judges  of
     the High Court are too serious, scandalous and, admittedly,  sufficient
     to undermine the majesty of law and dignity of court and  that  is  too
     without any basis.  The appellant is a practicing advocate.  Plea taken
     by  him  that  he  had  been  misguided  by  other  advocates   is   an
     afterthought.  He must have been fully aware  of  the  consequences  of
     what he has written.  The averment to the  effect  that  provisions  of
     Chapter XXXV-E of the Rules had  not  been  strictly  observed  remains
     insignificant as the appellant had not only admitted  transcribing  the
     complaint but also its contents.  The appellant had submitted the reply
     to the show cause notice issued by the High Court of Allahabad  on  the
     judicial side.  In such a fact-situation, even  if,  for  the  sake  of
     argument it is accepted that the aforesaid Rules have not been complied
     with strictly, we are not willing to accept the case of  the  appellant
     for the reason that Mr. J.M. Sharma, learned  senior  counsel  for  the
     appellant could not show as to what was that  material  which  was  not
     considered by the High Court that had been put up as a defence  by  the
     appellant resulting in any miscarriage of justice.


     9.     This Court in M.B. Sanghi, Advocate v. High Court of Punjab  and
     Haryana & Ors., AIR 1991  SC  1834,  while  examining  a  similar  case
     observed :
                 “The foundation of judicial system which is based  on  the
           independence and impartiality of those who man it will be shaken
           if disparaging and  derogatory  remarks  are  made  against  the
           presiding judicial officers with impunity. It is high time  that
           we realise that the much cherished judicial independence has  to
           be protected not only from the executive or the legislature  but
           also from those who are an  integral  part  of  the  system.  An
           independent  judiciary  is  of  vital  importance  to  any  free
           society”.




     10.     In Asharam M. Jain v. A.T. Gupta & Ors. AIR 1983 SC 1151, while
     dealing with the issue,  this Court observed as under:
           “The strains and mortification of litigation cannot  be  allowed
           to lead litigants to tarnish, terrorise and destroy  the  system
           of administration of justice by vilification of  judges.  It  is
           not that judges need be protected; judges may well take care  of
           themselves. It is the right and interest of the  public  in  the
           due administration of justice that has to be protected.”


     11.    In  Jennison v. Baker [1972]  1  All  E.R.  997,  1006,  it  was
     observed, “[T]he law should not be seen to sit by limply,  while  those
     who defy it go free, and those who seek its protection lose hope”

     12.     The  appellant  has  tendered  an  absolute  and  unconditional
     apology which has not been accepted by the  High  Court.   The  apology
     means a regretful acknowledge or excuse for  failure.   An  explanation
     offered to a person affected  by  one’s  action  that  no  offence  was
     intended, coupled with the expression of regret for any that  may  have
     been given.  Apology should be unquestionable in sincerity.  It  should
     be tempered with a sense of genuine remorse and repentance, and  not  a
     calculated strategy to avoid punishment

     13.    Clause 1 of Section 12  of  the  Act  and  Explanation  attached
     thereto  enables  the  court  to  remit  the  punishment  awarded   for
     committing  the  contempt  of  court  on  apology  being  made  to  the
     satisfaction of the court. However, an apology should not  be  rejected
     merely on the ground that it is qualified  or  tempered  at  a  belated
     stage if the accused makes it bona fide. A  conduct  which  abuses  and
     makes a mockery of the judicial process of the court  is  to  be  dealt
     with iron hands and no person can tinker with it to prevent, prejudice,
     obstructed or interfere with the administration of justice.  There  can
     be cases where the wisdom of rendering an apology dawns only at a later
     stage. Undoubtedly, an apology cannot be a defence, a justification, or
     an appropriate punishment for an act which tantamounts to  contempt  of
     court. An apology can be accepted in case where the conduct  for  which
     the  apology  is  given  is  such  that  it  can  be  “ignored  without
     compromising the dignity of the court”, or it is  intended  to  be  the
     evidence of real contrition.  It should be sincere. Apology  cannot  be
     accepted in case it is hollow; there  is  no  remorse;  no  regret;  no
     repentance, or if it is only a device to escape the rigour of the  law.
     Such an apology can merely be termed as “paper apology”.


       14. In L.D. Jaikwal v. State of U.P., AIR 1984 SC  1374,  this  court
           noted that it  cannot  subscribe  to  the  'slap-say  sorry-  and
           forget'  school  of  thought  in   administration   of   contempt
           jurisprudence. Saying 'sorry' does not make the slapper poorer.
     (See  also:  T.N.  Godavarman  Thirumulpad  v.  Ashok  Khot   &   Anr.,
        AIR 2006 SC 2007)


         So an apology should not be  “paper  apology”  and  expression  of
     sorrow should come from the heart and not from the pen; for it  is  one
     thing to 'say' sorry, it is another to 'feel' sorry.


     15.    An apology for criminal contempt of court must be offered at the
     earliest since a belated apology hardly shows the “contrition which  is
     the essence of the purging of contempt”.  Of course, an apology must be
     offered and that too clearly and at the earliest opportunity.  However,
     even if the apology is not belated but the court finds it to be without
     real contrition and remorse, and finds that it was merely tendered as a
     weapon of defence, the Court may refuse to accept it.   If the  apology
     is offered at the time when the contemnor finds that the court is going
     to impose punishment, it ceases to be an apology and becomes an act  of
     a cringing coward. (Vide: Debabrata Bandopadhyay & Ors. v. The State of
     West Bengal & Anr., AIR 1969 SC 189; Mulkh Raj v. The State of  Punjab,
     AIR 1972 SC 1197; The Secretary, Hailakandi Bar Association v. State of
     Assam & Anr., AIR 1996 SC 1925; C. Elumalai & Ors. v. A.G.L. Irudayaraj
     & Anr., AIR 2009 SC 2214; and Ranveer Yadav v. State of Bihar,   (2010)
     11 SCC 493).


     16.    This Court has clearly laid down that an apology tendered is not
     to be accepted as a matter of course and the  Court  is  not  bound  to
     accept the same.  The court is competent  to  reject  the  apology  and
     impose the punishment recording  reasons  for  the  same.  The  use  of
     insulting  language  does  not  absolve  the  contemnor  on  any  count
     whatsoever. If the words are calculated and clearly intended  to  cause
     any insult, an apology, if  tendered  and  lack  penitence,  regret  or
     contrition, does not deserve to be accepted.  (Vide:  Shri  Baradakanta
     Mishra v. Registrar of Orissa High Court & Anr.,  AIR 1974 SC 710;  The
     Bar Council of Maharashtra v. M.V. Dabholkar etc.,  AIR  1976  SC  242;
     Asharam M. Jain v. A.T. Gupta & Ors., AIR 1983  SC  1151;  Mohd.  Zahir
     Khan v. Vijai Singh & Ors.,  AIR 1992 SC  642;  In  Re:  Sanjiv  Datta,
     (1995) 3 SCC 619; Patel Rajnikant Dhulabhai & Ors. v. Patel Chandrakant
     Dhulabhai & Ors., AIR 2008 SC 3016; and Vishram  Singh  Raghubanshi  v.
     State of U.P., AIR 2011 SC 2275).


    17.     That the power to punish for contempt  is  a  rare  species  of
    judicial power which is by the very  nature  calls  for  exercise  with
    great care and caution.  Such power ought to be  exercised  only  where
    “silence is no longer an option.”
    (See: In re: S. Mulgaokar AIR 1978 SC 727; H.G. Rangangoud v. M/s State
    Trading Corporation of India Ltd. & Ors., AIR 2012 SC 490;  Maninderjit
    Singh Bittav. Union of India & Ors., (2012) 1 SCC  273;  T.C.  Gupta  &
    Anr. v. Hari Om Prakash & Ors., (2013) 10 SCC 658; and Arun Kumar Yadav
    v. State of U.P. through District Judge, (2013) 14 SCC 127)
          Power of courts to punish for contempt is to secure public respect
    and confidence in judicial process.  Thus, it is a  necessary  incident
    to every court of justice.


    18.     Being a member of the Bar, it was his duty not  to  demean  and
    disgrace the majesty of justice dispensed by a court of law.  It  is  a
    case where insinuation of bias and predetermined mind has been  leveled
    by a practicing lawyer against three judges of the High  Court.    Such
    casting of bald, oblique, unsubstantiated aspersions against the judges
    of High Court not only causes agony and anguish to the judges concerned
    but also shakes the confidence of the public in the  judiciary  in  its
    function of dispensation of justice.  The judicial process is based  on
    probity, fairness and impartiality which is unimpeachable.  Such an act
    especially by members of Bar who  are  another  cog  in  the  wheel  of
    justice is highly  reprehensible  and  deeply  regretted.   Absence  of
    motivation is no excuse.


    19.     In view of the above, we are of the considered opinion that the
    High Court has not committed any error in not accepting the appellant’s
    apology since the same is not bona fide. There might have been an inner
    impulse of outburst as the appellant alleges that his nephew  had  been
    murdered, but that is no  excuse  for  a  practicing  lawyer  to  raise
    fingers against the court.


    20.     Section 12(1)  of  the  Act  provides  that  if  the  court  is
    satisfied that contempt of court has been committed, it may punish  the
    contemnor with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend  to  six
    months, or with fine which may extend to Rs.2,000/-, or with both.
          Section 12(2)  further  provides  that  “notwithstanding  anything
    contained in any other law for the time being in force, no court  shall
    impose a sentence in excess of that specified in  sub-section  (1)  for
    any contempt either in respect of itself or of a court  subordinate  to
    it.”               Thus, the power to punish for contempt of the  court
    is subject to limitations prescribed in sub-section (2) of the Act.


    21.     Hence, in view of the above, the fine of Rs.20,000/- imposed on
    the appellant by the High Court by way of impugned judgment and  order,
    is reduced to Rs.2,000/- and is  directed  to  deposit  the  said  fine
    forthwith.


    22.     We find no force in the appeal which is accordingly  dismissed.
    The appellant must surrender to  serve  out   the  sentence  forthwith,
    failing which, the learned Chief  Judicial  Magistrate,  Meerut,  would
    secure his custody and send him to jail to serve out the  sentence.   A
    copy of the order be sent to the  learned  Chief  Judicial  Magistrate,
    Meerut, for information and compliance.


                                       ....…….……………………..J.
                                             (Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN)




                                                          ....……………………………J.
                                                             (A.K.   SIKRI)


      New Delhi,
      May 28, 2014





















































                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 686 OF 2010
      Anil Kumar
      …Appellant


                                   Versus
      State of U.P.
               …Respondent


                               J U D G M E N T
      Dr. B.S. Chauhan,J.
            In view of the  judgment  passed  today  in  connected  Criminal
      Appeal No. 555 of 2010, this appeal is dismissed. However, the fine of
      Rs.20,000/- imposed on the appellant by  the  High  Court  by  way  of
      impugned judgment and order, is reduced to Rs.2,000/- and is  directed
      to deposit the said fine forthwith.
             The  appellant  must  surrender  to  serve  out   the  sentence
      forthwith, failing  which,  the  learned  Chief  Judicial  Magistrate,
      Meerut, would secure his custody and send him to jail to serve out the
      sentence.  A copy of the order be sent to the learned  Chief  Judicial
      Magistrate, Meerut, for information and compliance.


                                       ....…….……………………..J.
                                             (Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN)


                                                        .....……………………………J.
                                                            (A.K.    SIKRI)


      New Delhi,
      May 28, 2014






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