IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA
Cr. C.C.C. No. 26/2000
Decided On: 30.07.2003
Advocate General, High Court of Karnataka
Chidambara and Anr.
A.M. Farooq and S.R. Bannurmath, JJ.
Citation: 2004 CRLJ493
1. The stream of administration of justice has to remain unpolluted so that purity of Courts atmosphere may give vitality to all the organs of the State. The polluters of judicial firmament are therefore, required to be well taken care of to maintain sublimity of Courts environment; so also to enable to administer justice fairly and to the satisfaction of all concerned.
2. Any one who takes recourse to fraud, deflects course of judicial proceedings, or if anything is done with oblique motive the same amounts to interference with the administration of justice. As such the persons are required to be properly dealt with, not only to punish them for the wrong done, but also to deter others from indulging in similar activity, which tends shakes the faith of the people in the system of administration of justice. Thus are the observations the Hon’ble Supreme Court made in cases BENEATH KUMAR SINGH IN RE, , CHANDRA SHASHI v. ANIL KUMAR VERMA, , DHANANJAYA SHARMA V. STATE OF HARYANA, .
3. The present suo moto registered case is also one of such instances where this Court is taken for ride by the accused to obtain an order favourable and beneficial to the contemnors.
4. The brief facts leading to the present proceedings are as follows:
Accused No. 1 is the appellant in W.A.No. 4607/1998 filed on 6,10.1998 challenging the order of the learned Single Judge of this Court in W.P.No. 17853/1993. On 15.9.1999 the writ appeal was listed before the Division Bench of this Court for preliminary hearing. The contesting respondents in the writ appeal namely respondent/ caveator Nos. 1 to 4 were represented by their Counsel Sri Chandranath Ariga (C.W. 5). On that day a submission was made on behalf of accused No. 1 that the matter was settled by the parties and as per the settlement, the appeal was to be allowed and the contesting respondents to withdraw the Writ Petition. Noting this submission, the Division Bench adjourned the case to 7.10.1999 to enable the Counsel for the parties to file a written compromise petition and also directed the Counsel to keep all the parties present on 7.10.1999 for the purpose of recording their statements in respect of compromise. Accordingly on the next day viz., 7.10.1999 a compromise memo under Order 23 Rule 3 duly signed by all the parties and their Counsel came to be presented to the Court. After recording the statements of the parties including the appellant and respondent Nos. 2 to 4, the Court having prima facie satisfied that the parties have entered into compromise, allowed the compromise petition and ordered that the writ appeal be allowed; the impugned order of the learned Single Judge passed in W.P.No. 17853/1993 be set aside and the contesting respondents were permitted to withdrawn the Writ Petition filed by them. Consequently, the Writ Petition was dismissed as withdrawn.
5. Later on C.P. No. 1362/2000 came to be filed by Sri Balakrishna Shastry, Advocate, on behalf of respondent Nos. 1,3, 4. Similarly C.P.No. 1047/2000 also came to be filed on behalf of respondent Nos. 11 and 12 with common prayers for recalling the order dated 7.10.1999 passed by the Division Bench regarding the compromise, on the ground that neither these respondents viz., respondent Nos. 1, 3 and 4 were present or entered their appearance in the writ appeal nor had they signed and filed any compromise petition and as such, they suspect that the compromise on their behalf is a fraud committed on the Court either by misrepresentation or by impersonation.
6. The C.Ps. were taken up for consideration on 17.11.2000 and after recording the statement of accused No. 1 herein, having prima facie satisfied that the Court has by misrepresentation and playing fraud, accused No. 1 has obtained the order recording compromise and not only allowing his writ appeal but Writ Petition itself being dismissed as withdrawn, the Division Bench not only allowed the C.P.s., recalled its order dated 7.10.99 but directed that suo moto contempt proceedings be issued. It is to be mentioned here itself that though accused No. 1 was present in Court till then and in fact gave his statement before the Court on oath, by the time the order was being dictated, suddenly disappeared and as such at the conclusion of the C.P, the Court had to order for issue of NBW. Thereafter charges came to be filed against these two accused. The charges read as follows:-
“CHARGE We justice G.C. BHARUKA and Justice K. SREEDHAR RAO, charge you in the above case as follows:
That you Accused No. 1 being appellant in Writ Appeal No. 4607/1998 set up impersonated persons as Respondents 1 to 4 in the Appeal and also got a caveat lodged by impersonated person by engaging Sri Chandranath Ariga, Advocate, in the Caveat proceedings and got the vakalath signed by impersonated persons as representing to be Respondents 1 to 4 in the caveat and further in Writ Appeal No. 4607/1998 on 7.10.1998 a forged and a fabricated compromise petition signed by the impersonated persons as Respondents 1 to 4 was filed whereby Writ Petition Nos. 17853/1993 filed by the genuine respondents 1 to 4 was withdrawn and thereby by committed forgery and cheating by impersonation misleading the Court in passing the orders in W.A.No. 4607/1998 which amounts to commission of offence of Criminal Contempt punishable under Section 2(C)(iii) read with Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act.
Charge was read over and explained to the 1st accused in Kannada and his recorded.
Do you plead guilty or wish to be tried?
Have you anything more to say?
(2) That you Accused No. 2 being a practicing advocate at Puttur attested the Vakalath signed by impersonated respondents as respondents 1 to 4 in the caveat and also attested the affidavit notarized at Puttur by impersonated person as being that of Sunanda Devi, the real Respondent No. 1 and thus, you have abetted the commission of contempt of Court by Accused No. 1.
Do you plead guilty or wish to be tried?
Have you anything more to say?
Nothing to say.”
7. As the accused denied the charges and claimed to be tried, both sides were directed to putforth their evidence before the Court. Six witnesses were examined on behalf of the prosecution and several documents were got marked. Both the accused examined themselves as C.Ws. 1 and 2 and also produced some documents in support of their case.
8. Thereafter we have heard the learned Additional SPP for the prosecution, Sri Udaya Kumar, learned Counsel for accused No. 1 and Sri Alva, Advocate for respondent No. 2.
9. Out of the witnesses examined by the prosecution, C.W.1 Nirmal Kumar is an Advocate and Notary. He has spoken to his acquaintance with accused No. 2 who is also a practicing Advocate at Puttur. According to this witness, on 30.8.1999 both the accused came to his office for notarizing a document along with a woman and they informed him that the said person is one Smt. Sunanda Devi. Accordingly, after verifying the contents, he has notarised the document. He identifies the affidavit dated 30.8.1999 notarised by him as per Ex.P.3. It is to be noted that this affidavit is used for filing and in support of a caveat petition filed in the Writ appeal. In the cross-examination, he has denied the suggestion that accused No. 1 did not come to his office for notarizing and that he is deposing falsely. In the cross-examination by accused No. 2 he has admitted that he also belongs to the same community as that of accused No,2, that he has started practising about 15 years back and just after 2 or 3 years after his starting of practise, he came to get acquainted with accused No. 1.
10. The next witness is C.W. 2 Sri Balakrishna Shastry. C.W.2 Balakrishna Shastry was the Advocate appearing for the petitioners in W.P. 17853/1993 later on became respondent Nos. 1 to 5 in Writ Appeal No. 4607/1998. He has given detailed facts as to the litigation between the parties. He states that there was another case before the very Appellate Tribunal in R.A.No. 401 and 402 /1993 arising from the proceedings under Section 54 Cr.P.C and the order passed by the Deputy Commissioner in pursuance of Preliminary Decree passed in O.S.No. 266/1968 which too was filed by respondent Nos. 1 to 5 and the R.A. before the K.A.T. was by accused No. 1. He states that the said appeals came to be dismissed on 29.10.1999 on the ground that the Writ Petition has been allowed by this Court. Thereafter he states that after some time respondent Nos. 3 and 4 on coming to know from the rumour in the village that the writ appeal filed by accused No. 1 has been allowed and taken by surprise, as they had no intimation of filing of writ appeal, they approached him to ascertain the fact. Accordingly on his enquiry C.W. 2 came to know that in the said writ appeal a caveat is alleged to have been filed on behalf of the respondents and after recording the compromise petition, the Writ appeal filed by accused No. 1 has been allowed. He states that on his enquiry respondent No. 3 Jinachandra informed him that neither he has filed any caveat nor has he appeared before the Division Bench in Writ appeal nor has he given any vakalath to Sri Chandranath Ariga, Advocate. C.W.2 further states that thereafter he applied for certified copies of the caveat petition, vakalath, compromise petition and depositions recorded in the writ appeal and when the same were shown to his parties, they denied their signatures on the vakalath, caveat petition or on the compromise petition as well as denied that they had deposed before the High Court in the writ appeal. Having been prima facie satisfied as per the statements of the parties, C.W, 2 states that thereafter he met Chandranath Ariga, Advocate – C.W. 5 and apprised the fact of fraud played upon his clients and in turn he was assured by C.W. 5 that the same would be verified from accused No. 1. After some time, he learnt from Sri Ariga, Advocate, that he had contacted Advocate Sri Manohar, Advocate of Sri Shetty and Hegde Associates, who were representing accused No. 1; that they had contacted accused No. 1 and according to whom, it was the true respondents who have signed the compromise petition and there is no fraud, forgery and impersonation. Having been not satisfied with this explanation C.W.2 states that he was requested by the parties to file review petitions to recall the order dated 7.10.1999 passed by the Court on the ground of forgery, fabrication and impersonation by the beneficiaries (A-1). He gives the details as to what happened on 11.9.2000 and 17.11.2000 before this Court, in the cross-examination, he has admitted that he had no personal knowledge as to whether respondent No. 3 was present in the village on 7.10.1999 but further states that he had ascertained as to his presence on that day in the village. He also admits that he has not been informed about filing of any criminal case against respondent No. 1 in respect of the alleged forgery, fabrication or impersonation.
11. C.W.3 is respondent No. 3 in the Writ Appeal proceedings. He has stated that neither he nor his brothers, sister and mother have not entered into any compromise in Writ Appeal No. 4607 / 1998. He denies that he has put any signatures in the compromise petition or having given any vakalath to Sri Chandranath Ariga for the purpose of filing of caveat in the Writ Appeal. He further states that only on coming to know about the alleged compromise from the rumours in the village, he contacted his Advocate Sri Balakrishna Shastry C.W.2 and after coming to know of the fraud played, requested him to file the review petition. In the cross-examination, he has denied of having put his signature in the alleged compromise petition or any signatures put by his sister, mother and other brothers. Further he has denied that only to harass accused No. 1, he has started the dispute.
12. Similar is the evidence of C.W. 4 K, Rajendra, who was respondent No. 4 in the writ appeal. C.W. 5 Chandranath Ariga is a practising Advocate in this Court. According to him, in the month of August, 1999 accused No. 1 along with his Advocate, Sri Manohar came to him with a request to file a caveat petition in the writ appeal filed challenging the order in W.P.No. 17853/1993 and on enquiry certain papers were given to him with an assurance that accused No. 1 would come on the next day. According to this witness on the next day, when accused No. 1 came to his office, C.W. 5 informed him that there was no need for filing any caveat since there was a favourable order in respect of respondent Nos. 1 to 4. He further states that thereafter accused No. 1 informed him that since accused No. 1 himself and the respondents in the writ appeal have entered into a compromise and as they want to close the case at the admission stage itself, filing of caveat petition is necessary. He then states that accused No. 1 gave him a vakalath with 4 signatures purporting to be those of respondent Nos. 2 to 4, as these signatures on the vakalath were not attested and as there were no affidavit in support of the caveat petition, he informed his inability to file the caveat petition. Then he states that accused No. 1 took back the vakalath and informed him that he will get the signatures on the vakalath attested from an Advocate at Puttur and after few days, he returned back with the Vakalath attested by accused No. 2 Sri Yathindranath Rai, a practising Advocate at Puttur, whom C.W. 5 also knew. Having prima facie satisfied, C.W. 5 states that he filed the caveat petition and on 15.9.1999. When the writ appeal was posted for admission, he was present in Court along with Sri G.S. Visweshwara, a senior Advocate appearing on his behalf and Sri Manohar, Advocate, representing accused No. 1. He states that as per the instructions, he represented to the Court that the respondents intend to withdraw the Writ Petition as the matter has been settled between the parties. He states that thereafter the Court directed him to keep his parties present in Court on the next day i.e., on 7.10.1999 and in this regard accused No. 1 informed him that on the next day respondent Nos. 1 to 4 would be brought by accused No. 1. He states that to ensure, the respondents were made aware of the Court Order, to be present on the next day, he had sent registered postal covers to the parties, the acknowledgements which have been produced by C.W.5 along with the entries made in the a register regularly maintained by this witness as to the correspondence between himself and his clients. According to this witness on 7.10.1999 the accused No. 1 pointed out three persons present in the Court premises and identified as respondent Nos.2 to 4. In so far as absence of respondent No. 1 is concerned, he states that accused No. 1 informed him that respondent No. 1 is not well and in this regard a medical certificate as per Ex.P.26 was given by the accused No. 1. According to this witness, the case was adjourned to the noon session and in the meanwhile, he prepared the compromise petition as per the terms suggested by accused No. 1 and the three persons accompanying him signed the compromise petition and presented to the Court. During the deposition, this witness was shown respondent Nos. 3 and 4 (C.Ws. 3 & 4) present in Court and he specifically states that these are not the persons who had put their signature on 7.10.1999 in the compromise petition in his presence. He further states that apart from C.P.No. 1362/2000 filed by respondent No. 1 another C.P.No. 1047/2000 was filed by respondent Nos. 11 and 12 in the writ appeal also for recalling the order dated 7.10.1999 and the C.P. was posted before the Court on 4.7.2000. Since his name was shown in the cause list, he too was present in the Court and when the Court issue notices to the respondent as a precaution, he had sent registered post letters to respondent Nos. 1 to 4 to come over to his office for further instruction. According to him, the registered post sent by him returned unserved with a postal shara ‘addressee out of station’, the copies of which are produced at Exs.P. 28 to 31.
13. Thereafter he states that in the first week of July, 2000, Sri Balakrishna Shastry, C.W.2 met him in the Court and made enquiries as to this Witness filing any caveat on behalf of respondent Nos. 1 to 5 in the writ appeal and this witness having affirmed the same. He states that when Sri Balakrishna Shastry informed him that respondent Nos. 1 to 4 have not in fact entered into any compromise with accused No. 1, it was a schock to him and as such immediately he contacted. Sri Manohar, Advocate, who had referred accused No. 1 to him for filing the caveat. On his informing the said Counsel, he was informed that he (Sri Manohar) will be sending a telegram to accused No. 1 and find out the truth. Later on this witness was informed by Sri Manohar, Advocate that accused No. 1 is coming on the next day and as such C.W. 5 can meet him in the office of Shetty and Hegde Associates, wherein Sri Manohar, Advocate, was working to ascertain the facts. He states that on the next day when he confronted accused No. 1 as to the allegations of impersonation, accused No. 1 stoutly denies any impersonation and went on asserting that the person he had brought on 7.10.1999 and who appeared before the Court were the real respondent Nos. 2 to 4.
14. According to him when C.P. 1362/2000 was taken up for consideration on 14.8.2000 along with C.P.No. 1047/2000 and after hearing the Counsel, the Court directed the Advocates to keep their parties present on the next day i.e., 11.9.2000. According to this witness on the next day i.e., 11.9.2000 the three persons who had appeared before the Court earlier to file compromise petition and whom he represented in the writ appeal did not appear but only accused No. 1 and C.Ws. 3 and 4 were present. This witness further states that when the Court asked him to identify as to whether C.Ws. 3 and 4 were the persons for whom he had appeared and filed the caveat and vakalath on their behalf and signed in the compromise petitioner, after looking at them he informed the Court that C.Ws. 3 and 4 were not the persons for whom he was engaged to appear. It is then he states that the Court also enquired with Sri Manohar, Advocate, as to the whereabouts of accused No. 1. According to this witness, accused No. 1 who was present throughout till then, by the time the Court was asking his whereabouts, he left the Court and as such Sri Manohar, Advocate, had to submit to the Court that accused No. 1 would be kept present at 2.30 p.m. This witness further states that when the matter was taken at 2.30 p.m. Sri Manohar submitted to the Court that accused No. 1 is not all seen by him and as such NBW came to be issued against the accused not by the Court. Thereafter he states that on 17.11.2000 having been satisfied as to the prima facie case of impersonation the Court initiated suo-moto contempt proceedings and in this regard as directed by this Court, he has filed his affidavit explaining in detail as to how he came into picture in the writ appeal and what was his role.
15. In the cross-examination, he has denied the suggestion that the accused did not come to his office for instructing regarding filing of the caveat petition. He has also stated that except attesting the signatures on the vakalath Ex.P. 8 and identifying the signature in the affidavit Ex.P.3, accused 2 has not played any more role.
16. CW-6 is Sri B. Manohar, advocate appearing on behalf of M/s. Shetty and Hegde Associates for the accused No. 1 in the writ appeal. He states that after fling of the writ appeal, in the 3rd week of 1999 the accused No. 1 approached him informing that the matter between himself and the contesting respondents 1 to 5 has been settled and the respondents have expressed their desire to withdraw the Writ Petition. In this regard, he stated that accused -1 wanted him to file a caveat petition on behalf of respondents 1 to 5 by engaging one of his colleagues. He has stated that as it was not possible for him to file caveat or his colleagues on behalf of the contesting respondents, as he has already appeared for the accused No. 1 and he suggested him to engage Sri G. Balakrishna Shastry who had already appeared for the respondents in the Writ Petition to which accused No. 1 informed him that it is not appropriate to engage Sri Shastry, Advocate as he has already appeared against him in other cases. Thereafter, during the discussion he also states that he suggested names of few advocates practising in the High Court coming from Puttur including CW-5 Sri Chandranath Ariga and on mentioning this name accused -1 informed him that as he knows Sri Chandranath Ariga, Advocate, he will get the caveat filed through him. This witness further states that he pointed out Sri Chandranath Ariga in the Court premises and also talked with Sri Chandranath Ariga, Advocate in regard.
17. Further he speaks as to what happened in the Court on 15.9.1999 and on 7.10.1999. He also gives in detail as to the C.P. filed by Sri Balakrishna Shastry on behalf of respondents for recalling the orders dated 7.10.1999 and 14.8.2000. According to him, on 11.9.2000 accused -1 met him and he was informed to be present in the Court Hall No. 1 where the case was posted. According to this witness, at about 1.05 p.m. in the noon, the writ appeal was called and by the time the Court was making enquiry with Sri Ariga, Advocate and asking him to identify the persons present in the Court as to whether they are the same with signed the compromise petition, suddenly, the accused-1 ran out of the Court and as such, the Court directed C.W. 6 to keep the accused -1 present in the afternoon. This witness further stated that at about 1.35 or so he met accused -1 in the Court premises and when questioned as to why he had ran away from the Court, he was informed that as accused -1 was not feeling well, he had left the Court to go to Cubbon Park. This witness further states that thereafter, he asked accused-1 to be present in the Court Hall at about 2.30 P.M., but when the case was called at about 2.45 PM accused -1 was again absent and as such, the Court was forced to issue N.B.W. against the accused-1. Thereafter, he states that N.B.W. was executed and on 17.11.2000, accused -1 appeared before the Court and he admitted before the Court that there was impersonation in respect of respondents 2 to 4. This witness has given detailed affidavit as to what has happened between himself and the accused-1 in respect of the Court proceedings.
18. In the cross-examination, this witness states that it was accused – 1 who had brought 3 persons and introduced them as respondents 2 to 4 in the writ appeal. He has also denied the suggestion that to usurp his responsibility he has falsely put the blame on accused -1.
19. This is on the sum and substance of the evidence of the witness examined on behalf of the prosecution. We need not consider in detail the documentary evidence as most of these are part of the Court records in the writ appeal and Writ Petition proceedings and the correctness or otherwise has not been of much dispute.
20. Accused -1 has examined himself as DW-1 and has stated that he is an agriculturist by profession and has studied upto 7th standard. That in the year 1998 he met one Sathyanaraya Bhat who is alleged to be the purchaser of the property involved in the Writ Petition and that the said Sathyanarayana Bhat wanted to settle the dispute between the parties. He further states that Sathyanarayana Bhat would bring respondents 1 to 5 to the High Court for the purpose of compromise and in this regard, he along with Sathyanarayana Bhat and respondents 1 to 5 went to the office of accused -2 Yathindranath Rai, Advocate at Puttur for the purpose of signing the compromise petition. He states that after the writ appeal proceedings were over, he received a telegram from Sri Shashi Kiran Shetty, advocate of M/s. Shetty and Hegde Associates to come over to Bangalore and meet him. He states that after his coming to Bangalore and coming to the office he met Sri Manohar, Jayakar S, Shashi Kiran Shetty and Sri Chandranath Ariga, Advocates, and all of them informed him that he had brought three different persons to impersonate respondents 2 to 4 in the writ appeal when the compromise was entered into between the parties. He further states that he was pressurised by the above mentioned advocate, to admit the same but, this witness denied that the allegations are not correct and that he had brought the true respondents 2 to 4 in the writ appeal and there was no impersonation. He further states that though on 10.8.2001 he has filed an affidavit and given statement before the Court admitting impersonation, he states that the statement is not true as it was made at the instance of and pressure of his aforesaid advocates representing him in the writ appeal.
21. In the cross-examination, he admits that he had stated before this Court in the sworn statement recorded on 17.11.2000 to the effect that:
” on the day of compromise was recorded original respondents 1 to 5 did not come to the Court and somebody impersonated them”.
22. He denied the suggestion as to his going to the office of Chandranath Ariga, Advocate and getting filed a caveat through him.
23. Accused No. 2 has examined himself as DW-2. He states that he is a practising Advocate at Puttur since 20 years and accused-1 was one of his clients. He states that accused No. 1 had brought a vakalath filled up with the contents and he was asked to attest the signatures of the parties who were brought by the accused No. 1. According to this witness, accused -1 introduced the persons brought as his relatives and that they intend to file a compromise petition in the High Court. DW-2 further states that as he was not knowing respondents 1 to 4 personally he tried to ascertain the same as to the identity from accused -1 and in this regard, as accused-1 has assured orally as well as by giving a letter as to the identity of the persons who signed in his presence, believing the same, he has attested the signatures on the vakalath. He has produced the letter dated 30.8.1999 signed by the accused -1 giving assurance as to the identity of respondents 1 to 4 as per Ex.D.4
24. We have heard the learned Counsels on both sides in detail. The learned Addl. SPP submits that as has successfully established through documentary. Evidence and oral evidence in respect of the alleged impersonation and fraud played upon the Court by the accused-1 with the help of unknown persons the prosecution has established the guilt of the accused-1. He drew our attention to the sworn statement of the accused-1 recorded by this Court on 17.11.2000 wherein the accused-1 himself has admitted that there was impersonation in respect of the true respondents 2 to 4 in the writ appeal. He has taken us through the evidence of CW-5 and CW-6 to show that it was accused-1 who has taken a leading role in filing the caveat petition on behalf of respondents 1 to 5 even though accused-1 himself was an appellant in the writ appeal. Based on the entire material he contended that as the accused had obtained an order beneficial to him by the alleged compromise, by using fraudulent method he is guilty of contempt of Court especially having regard to the definition of contempt as per Section 2(C) of the Act.
25. So far as role of accused-2 is concerned, he fairly submitted that so far as this accused is concerned, his role is confined to the attestation of signatures on the vakalath said to have been brought by accused-1 to this accused and there appears to be no material so far as active role of accused No. 2 in the impersonation drama is concerned.
26. On the other hand, Sri Uday Kumar learned Counsel appearing for accused-1 vehemently contended that the charges framed are not proper. The evidence led by the prosecution is very vague and does not point out to the guilt of the accused.
27. Sri Alva, learned Counsel appearing for the accused-2 submitted that the role of accused-2 is confined only to the attestation made by this accused on the vakalath Ex.P.8 alleged to be signed by some persons impersonating respondents 2 to 4. In this regard, he submits that accused-2 having taken all the precautions like making enquiry with the accused-2 and in fact, after obtaining assurance letter Ex.D4 and having prima facie satisfied as he knew accused-1 fairly well for the past few years believed the version of the accused-1 and attested the signatures. He submits that this act of the accused-2 cannot fall within the definition of criminal contempt especially when the prosecution has failed to show any deliberate act or any act of abatement on the part of this accused to facilitate accused-1 in either forgering, fabricating or in helping impersonation in respect of writ appeal proceedings.
28. At the outset we would like to state that having regard to the entire fact scenario especially taking into consideration the entire evidence of both the sides, we do not find any role of accused-2 in impersonation, fabrication or helping the accused-1 in obtaining favourable order from this Court. Accused-2 being a practicing advocate for the last 20 years and who knew accused-1 being his client, in our view, has taken proper care and caution before attesting signatures on the vakalath Ex.P.8. He has stated before the Court that he has not only orally enquired with the accused as to the identity of the persons brought by accused-1 being respondents 2 to 5 but has also taken a letter from acused-1 as per Ex.D-4. The correctness or genuineness of Ex. D4 has not been disputed by Accused-1 which reads as follows:
As such accused-2 has taken sufficient precautions before attesting the signatures put in his presence on Ex.P8, it cannot be held that he has abated accused-1 in committing the criminal contempt. There is absolutely no allegation against this accused so far as the proceedings before this Court are concerned, wherein the major part of impersonation or fabrication etc., having taken place. As such, we find the prosecution has failed to establish to bring on the charge against accused-2 and hence, we drop the charges against accused-2.
29. In so far as accused-1 in concerned, before adverting to the evidence, we would like to remind ourselves to the law as laid down by the Apex Court in this regard. In the case of CHANDRA SHASHI v. ANIL KUMAR VERMA(Supra) Hon’ble Supreme Court has laid down thus;
“2. Anyone who takes recourse to fraud, deflects the course of judicial proceedings; or if anything is done with oblique motive, the same interferes with the administration of justice. Such persons are required to be properly dealt with, not only to punish them for the wrong done, but also to deter others from indulging in similar acts which shake the faith of people in the system of administration of justice.
9. The aforesaid thoughts receive due support from the definition of criminal contempt as given in Section 2(C) of the Act, according to which an act would amount be so if, inter alia, the same interferes or tends to interfere, or obstructs or tends to obstruct the administration of justice. The word ‘interfere’, means in the context of the subject, any action which checks or hampers the functioning or hinders or tends to prevent the performance of duty, as stated at P. 255 of Words and phrases (permanent Edn.) Vol. 22. As per what has been stated in the aforesaid work at P. 147 of Vol. 29 obstruction of justice is to interpose obstacles or impediments, or to hinder, impede or in any manner interrupt or prevent the administration of justice.”
30. In the case of DHANANJAY SHARMA v. STATE OF HARYANA (Supra)it is laid down thus:
“Section 2 (C) of the Contempt of Courts Act 1971 (for short the Act) defines criminal contempt as the publication (whether by words, spoken or written or by signs or visible representation or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever to (1) scandalise or tend to candalise or tower or tend to lower the authority of any Court(2) prejudice or interfere or tend to interfere with the due course of judicial proceedings or (3) Interfere or tend to interfere with, or obstruct or tend to obstruct the administration of justice in any other manner. Thus, any conduct which has the tendency to interfere with the administration of justice or the due course of judicial proceedings amounts to the commission of criminal contempt. The swearing of false affidavits in judicial proceedings nor only has the tendency of causing obstruction in the due course of judicial proceedings but has also the tendency to impede, obstruct and interfere with the administration of justice. The filing of false affidavits in judicial proceedings in any Court of law exposes the intention of the concerned party in perverting the course of justice. The due process of law cannot be permitted to be slighted not the majesty of law be made a mockery by such acts or conduct on the part of the parties to the litigation or even while appearing as witnesses. Anyone who makes an attempt to impede or undermine or obstruct the free flow of the unsoiled stream of justice by resorting to the filing of false evidence commits criminal contempt of the Court and renders himself liable to be dealt with in accordance with the Act. Filing of false affidavits or making false statement on oath in courts aims at striking a blow at the Rule of Law and no Court can ignore such conduct which has the tendency to shake public confidence in the judicial institutions because the very structure of an ordered life is put at stake. It would be a great public disaster if the fountain of justice is allowed to be poisoned by anyone resorting to filing of false affidavits or giving of false statements and fabricating false evidence in a Court of law. The stream of justice has to be kept clean and pure and anyone soiling its purity must be dealt with sternly so that the message perculates loud and clear that no one can be permitted to undermine the dignity of the Court and interfere with the due course of judicial proceedings or the administration of justice in Chandra Shashi v. Anil Kumar Verma the respondents produced a false and fabricated certificate to defeat the claim of the respondent for transfer of a case. This action was found to be an act amounting to interfere with the administration of justice. Brother Hansaria, J. speaking for the Bench observed: (At P. 4995, of AIR) “The stream of administration of justice has to remain unpolluted so that purity of Court’s atmosphere may give vitality to all the organs of the State. Polluters of judicial firmament are, therefore, required to be well taken care of to maintain the sublimity of Court’s environment; so also to enable it to administer justice fairly and to the satisfaction of all concerned. Anyone who takes recourse to fraud deflects the course of judicial proceedings; or if any thing is done with oblique motive, the same interferes with the administration of justice. Such persons are required to be propery dealt with, not only to punish them for the wrong done, but also to deter others from indulging in similar acts which shake the faith of people in the system of administration of justice.”
Thus, if any person tries to either file any false affidavit, forged document or even makes false statement on oath, the conduct of such person has a tendency to interfere with the administration of justice or the due course of judicial proceedings. This conduct is having tendency of impeding, obstructing or interference striking a blow on the role of law and no Court can ignore such conduct which has the tendency to shake the confidence of the public and in the judicial institution. It would be in our view a great public disaster if the fountain of justice is allowed to be poisoned by anyone resorting to file false affidavits by giving false statements or fabricating false evidence even by impersonation in a Court of law and as such, this type of acts clearly fall within the definition of criminal contempt as defined under Section 2(C) of the Contempt of Courts Act.
31. Apart from the evidence of CW-6 Sri Manohar, advocate who was engaged by accused-1, we have the evidence of Sri Ariga, advocate, C.W.5 who was approached by accused-1 for the purpose of filing caveat petition and compromise petition on behalf of respondents 1 to 4. Their evidence cogently and consistently disclose that it was accused-1 who took active and leading part after filing the writ appeal to create an impression that the matter between himself and the contesting respondents has been settled out of Court and in this regard, they intend to file a compromise petition not only to allow the Writ Appeal filed by accused-1 but, also withdraw the Writ Petition itself filed by the contesting respondents. It is not out of place to mention that based on such compromise petition presented and having relied upon the statements of the accused and the three persons who were presented before the Court as the contesting respondents, the Division Bench of this Court accepted the compromise petition and passed an order acting upon it which is later, when the real contesting respondents came to know about the alleged compromise entered into between them and the accused-1 and when they made enquiries in this regard through their counsel CW-2, the entire picture as to the accused getting some other persons to impersonating them as respondents 2 to 4, present them before the Court and even made them give statement on oath has been discovered and disclosed. No doubt as contended by the learned Counsel for the accused-1, the identity as to the persons who impersonated respondents 2 to 4 has remained mystery. But, it was the accused who alone knew who are these persons whom he brought before the Court for the purpose of showing them as respondents 2 to 4, In fact, as the records disclose, this Court had directed the accused-1 to bring the persons who were present at the time of recording the compromise petition and he has till today unable or reluctant to produce them.
32. Apart from this evidence which we have recorded in the proceedings, the glaring fact is the very statement of this accused made on oath on 17.11.2000. In this he has clearly admitted that he knows the real respondents 1 to 5 in the appeal and on the day compromise was recorded, the original respondents 1 to 5 did not come to the Court and somebody impersonated on their behalf. No doubt he has stated that he did not bring the persons to the Court and that he has given the statement identifying the signature at the instance of his advocate Sri. Manohar. He has also tried to state that it was Sri Manohar, advocate who had asked him to identify the persons impersonating to be the real respondents 2 to 4. This later part putting blame on the Counsels has been successfully shown by the prosecution as totally false.
33. CW-6 Sri Manohar has been examined and he has in detail stated as to the major role played by this accused in bringing the persons to be represented as respondents 2 to 4. We do not understand as to why the advocate should ask his client to get some persons to impersonate in the Court proceedings. As the compromise petition and the resultant consequences shows it was the accused-1 who is the sole beneficiary of such a fraud played upon the Court and the only conclusion which can be arrived at in this regard, is that it is this accused who had got 3 unknown persons to impersonate as respondents 2 to 4 and was at that time successful in getting a favourable order.
34. Having considered the entire evidence it leaves no doubt in our mind that the accused-1 has tried to commit fraud on the Court by bringing persons to impersonate as the contesting respondents in the Writ appeal and thereafter, pursued the Court to accept the compromise petition as it the contesting parties has settled the matter and agreed for not only allowing the Writ Appeal but also to destroy the root or cause by virtue of the order directing the withdrawal of the Writ Petition. Hence, we find accused-1 guilty of criminal contempt as defined under Section 2(C) of the Act.
35. Apart from the aforesaid offence, the conduct of the accused before this Court is also worth noticing. In C.P. though he has admitted on oath on 17.11.2000 that three persons impersonated the real contesting respondents, in the Writ appeal, in this proceedings he has even denied the same and has stated that he has given a false statement in the C.P. when his sworn statement was being recorded. In our view, this act of the accused-1 apart from commission of contempt of Courts Act also amounts to commission of an offence of perjury.
36. Having given our anxious consideration as we find that the act of the accused-1 is very serious in nature, he deserves the maximum punishment as awardable under the Contempt of Courts Act. We hereby sentence the accused-1 to undergo SI for a term of six months as well as a fine of Rs. 2,000/- and in default of payment of fine shall undergo further SI for a further period of one month.
37. In this regard, the learned Counsel for the accused-1 contended that as the accused-1 was detained in pursuance of N.B.W. issued by this Court and was in detention for a period of 45 days, the same be given set off.
38. In our view. Section 428 cannot be applicable to the facts and circumstances of the case especially when the accused was not detained in the present contempt proceedings. He was directed to be arrested in C.P. in pursuance of his act of not attending the Court when specially directed by the Court and hence no set off can be given to the accused.
39. As the accused has been sentenced to under go imprisonment, we direct the Registrar (Judicial) to prepare a warrant of commitment and detention in form No. 3 as per Rule 16 of the contempt of Court Rules.
40. It is noted that though accused has a right of appeal and could have prayed for stay of our order, no such prayer is made. Hence we direct the Registrar to take accused No. 1 in custody and send him to prison along with warrant of committal.
41. Before closing, on enquiry, as we have come to the conclusion and firm opinion that apart from committing contempt of Court the acused-1 has also committed an offence of perjury punishable under Section 193 IPC committed in relation to proceedings of this Court. We direct the Registrar (Judicial) under Section 340(3)(b) Cr.P.C to file a complaint before the jurisdictional Magistrate in this reaged.
42. The register Ex.P. 25 produced by CW-5 is ordered to be returned to him under acknowledgment.