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S.P. Singh, C.J.M. vs Ram Bharose Lal Agrawal

High Court Of Judicature at Allahabad|27 May, 1998


1. Sri Ram Bharose Lal Agarwal is an advocate practising at Bulandshahr and has admittedly a long standing-of practice. The present proceeding was initiated against him under a reference from Sri S. P. Singh, the then CJM, Bulandshahr under Section 15(2) of the Contempt of Courts Act. The facts leading to the reference indicate that Criminal Case No. 4773 of 1994 Ram Kumar v. Sanjeev Kumar was taken up by Sri S. P. Singh on 4-4-1997 for hearing an application moved on behalf of the accused, whereby he had prayed for his discharge. At about 3.45 p.m. on that day, Sri Ram Bharose Lal Agarwal appeared on behalf of the complainant and started making argument addressing the court in a highly disrespectful manner. Sri Singh in the reference quoted the words allegedly used by Sri Agarwal :
The file was pending in vacant court of III ACJM, the same has been recalled by this court and this court under what circumstances and why, I do not know why.
The reference further stated that Sri Agarwal then started misbehaving with the court and shouted loudly to give vent to his anger. Further quotation from the words used by Sri Agarwal was given in the reference :
Sri Singh further stated that Sri Agarwal had used the words, "HAITH, HAITH" several times. The report of Sri Singh further indicated that he had directed the court moharrir to take Sri Agarwal into custody and threat was then shown to the court and the court moharrir, the litigant public who were standing outside the court-room rushed in. The incident created such a situation that it was not possible to take up the case any further. On 23-4-1997 Sri Singh had issued a notice to Sri Agarwal for showing cause as to why reference would not be made for prosecuting him for contempt of court. He did not deny his presence in the court on the date of the alleged incident. But instead of showing any gesture of repentence Sri Agarwal made certain false allegations that the order sheet was changed. This was also, according to Sri Singh, a further contempt of court.
2. Upon receipt of the complaint, the then Administrative Judge observed that it should be dealt with judicially. The matter was thereafter, placed before the Hon'ble the Chief Justice on 12-7-1997, and was directed to be placed before the appropriate bench.
3. Accordingly the matter came up before the Division Bench of Hon. Giridhar Malaviya and Hon. B. K. Sharma, JJ. on 11-9-1997. On perusal of the reference charge was framed indicating the utterances allegedly made by Sri Ram Bharose Lal Agarwal and also indicating his conduct in the court and stating that he had knowingly and intentionally tended to scandalise and lower the authority of the court and tended to interfere with the due course of judicial proceedings and tended to obstruct the administration of justice which amounted to criminal contempt. The opposite party was directed to appear on 20-10-1997 and to show cause as to why he should not be punished under the Contempt of Courts Act upon the aforesaid charge of criminal contempt.
4. A counter affidavit was sworn by the opposite party on 13-11-1997 which was filed on that very date. It was indicated by him in his counter affidavit that he was aged about 67 years; and was practising in Bulandshahr for about 40 years. He had highest regard for the judiciary including the magistrates and the judges of the district court and he himself commanded a good reputation as a lawyer being respectful to the courts before whom he had appeared as a lawyer. The incident in question was the first of its nature in his long career and it was submitted, "It appears that in the hit (sic) of .arguments the learned magistrate has taken otherwise but the deponent was never disrespectful to the magistrate concerned. The deponent belongs to the old school and always tried to maintain the dignity of the honourable court. Without entering into any controversy the deponent is tendering his unconditional apology before this honourable court." He further indicated that not only he was aged 67 years, he was suffering from heart ailments and was undergoing treatment and was expecting by-pass surgery in case there was no improvement with medicines.
5. This show cause came up on 13-11-1997 before another Division Bench of this High Court presided over by Hon'ble B. K. Roy and Hon A. N. Gupta, JJ. After considering the reference and the show cause through which unqualified apology was tendered, and keeping in view the age and ailment of the opposite party, as also of the fact that the concerned judicial officer, Sri S. P. Singh, had by then been transferred from Bulandshahr, their Lordships directed Sri Ram Bharose Lal Agarwal to appear before the District Judge, Bulandshahr, on any working day in his chamber and to tender his unqualified written apology within a week from 13-11-1997. The District Judge was directed to call for comments from Sri S. P. Singh and then to submit his report with a copy of the unqualified apology tendered by Sri Agarwal.
6. The report of the District Judge dated 17-12-1997 is on record. The report says that he had appended a copy of the unqualified and unconditional apology tendered by Sri Ram Bharose Lal Agarwal but the same is not found in the records. However, not only the report of the District Judge but also the comment of Sri S. P. Singh and the submissions made by the learned counsel, Sri A.B.L. Gaur in court point to the fact that such an unconditional and unqualified apology was really tendered before the District Judge, as was directed. The District Judge has confirmed that Sri Agarwal is really a heart patient and Sri S. P. Singh in his comment has stated that he would accept the verdict of this court in respect of the alleged contempt of his court although he indicated that Sri Agarwal had even made false complaints against him after the aforesaid incident.
7. Before taking up the unconditional apology tendered by Sri Agarwal before this Court and before the District Judge, as directed, we propose to express our deep concern about the deteriorating atmosphere in the courts below where the advocates propose to take the upper hand and dare to go to the extent of using unparliamentary language and giving vent to their personal rage against the presiding officers. The opposite party has a practice of about 40 years and he describes himself as a person of the old school. The alleged contempt, however, is reprehensible and condemnable and, more so, because it had come from a senior counsel who should have exhibited ideal behaviour in court so that the new entrants might emulate such ideals.
8. When the apology, however, has come not only before this Court but before the district Court also and the same is unqualified and unconditional, and when the opposite party is admittedly an old man suffering from heart ailments, we are of the view that the apology may be accepted and the contemner may be discharged upon that apology.
9. The proceeding is accordingly disposed of directing the discharge of the opposite party, Shri Ram Bharose Lal Agarwal, without award of any punishment on acceptance of the apology tendered by him.
10. Let copies of this order be sent to the District Judge, Bulandshahr and Sri S. P. Singh in his present place of posting for their information. The District Judge, upon receipt of copies of this order will make further copies thereof and send a copy each to every court within his jurisdiction for information. He will also send another copy to the Bar Association, Bulandshahr, for information of the learned members.
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S.P. Singh, C.J.M. vs Ram Bharose Lal Agrawal


High Court Of Judicature at Allahabad

27 May, 1998
  • S Phaujdar
  • J Misra