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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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