Delhi Judicial Service Association v. State of Gujarat

Name of the CaseDelhi Judicial Service Association v. State of Gujarat
CitationMANU/SC/0478/1991; AIR 1991 SC 2176, (1991) 4 SCC 406.
Decided On11.09.1991
AppellantsDelhi Judicial Service Association, Tis Hazari Court, Delhi  
RespondentState of Gujarat and Ors.  
Bench/JudgesK.N.Singh, Kuldip Singh and N.M. Kasliwal
Statutes/Constitution InvolvedConstitution of India, 1950  
Important Sections/ ArticlesArticle 32, 129, 136, 141,
142, 246,374(2) and Schedule VII List 1, Entry 77

Abstract

The power to punish for contempt is vested within the judges not for his or her personal protection only, except for the protection of public justice, whose interest requires that politeness and dignity are preserved in courts of justice. Those who need to discharge duty during a Court of Justice are sheltered by the law, and shielded within the discharge of their duties; any deliberate interference with the discharge of such duties either in court or outside the court by attacking the presiding officers of the court would amount to contempt of court and therefore the courts must take serious cognizance of such conduct.

The language engaged in Article 129 indicated that Supreme Court may be a Court of Record and was entitled not only to punish for its contempt but to try to all which is within powers of a Court of Record.

Introduction

This is a criminal, the disgraceful and repugnant example of Police notoriety happened before September 25th, 1989. It’s unbelievable today, but Gujarat Police had cruelly trodden and handcuffed an incumbent Magistrate, for creating consistent complaints against the ill-conduct of the police officials. This issue had then caused an enormous national uproar forcing the Supreme Court to intervene during this matter. Several Bar Associations had passed Resolutions and went on strike.

The Delhi Judicial Service Association, the All India Judges Association, Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh, Judicial Service of Gujarat, and lots of others had approached the Supreme Court using telegrams also as petitions under Indian Constitution’s Article 32 to save lots of the dignity and honor of the judiciary. Finally, the Supreme Court had taken cognizance of this matter on the 29th of September, 1989, just four days after the incident. It issued a notice to the Gujarat state as well as the concerned police officials.

Background of the Case

Inspector S.R Sharma having 25 years of experience in service posted at the Nadiad police headquarters. In October 1988, N.L Patel was posted because of the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Nadiad. The CJM very soon realized that the local police had not been cooperating with him in producing service of summons, warrants, and notices on accused persons. This non-cooperation was resulting in adjournment within the trial of cases. He complained against the local police’s conduct to the superior cops, including D.G.P, but nothing substantial happened.

In April 1989 CJM Patel filed two complaints with the police against Sharma and other cops from Nadiad for adjourning specific court-related processes. On 25 July 1989 Patel directed the police to register a criminal case against 14 persons who had choked judicial proceedings. Subsequently, the CJM directed the Police Inspector to leave the cases against those persons. Sharma reacted strongly to CJM Patel’s direction. He moves toward the District Superintendent of Police and filed a complaint against the CJM to the Administrator of the Supreme Court.

Facts

Inspector S.R Sharma was posted at the Nadiad (Kheda), Gujarat police headquarters.

In October 1988, N.L Patel was posted because the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Nadiad and he realized that the local police had not been cooperating with him in producing service of summons, warrants, and notices on accused persons. This non-cooperation was leading to adjournment within the trial of cases.

He complained against the local police’s conduct to the superior cops, including D.G.P, but nothing substantial happened. In April 1989 CJM Patel filed two complaints with the police against Sharma and other cops from Nadiad for adjourning specific court-related processes.

On 25 July 1989 Patel directed the police to register a criminal case against 14 persons who had choked judicial proceedings. Subsequently, the CJM directed the Police Inspector to go away the cases against those persons.

Sharma reacted strongly to CJM Patel’s direction and moved towards the District Superintendent of Police and filed a complaint against the CJM to the Administrator of the Supreme Court. He moved towards the District Superintendent of Police and filed a complaint against the CJM to the Administrator of the Supreme Court.

On the 25th of September 1989, Inspector Sharma met the CJM Patel in his chamber to debate the case involving Jitu Sport as Police had not submitted a charge-sheet within the 90 days. Inspector Sharma invited the CJM to go to the police headquarters to ascertain the papers and said that his visit would calm the emotions of the police officials.

At 8.35 PM Sharma sent a police Jeep at Patel’s residence and Patel visited the police headquarters. As the CJM arrived in Sharma’s chamber within the police headquarters, he was forced to consume liquor which he tried to resist.

On the resistance, the CJM Patel was assaulted, handcuffed, and tied with a rope by Inspector Sharma and other police personnel.

To establish the facts, the Supreme Court appointed Justice R. He submitted a 140-page detailed report back to the Court that was again contended by these police officials, but the Supreme Court didn’t find any merit in their objections.

Finally, this report and its findings were accepted by the Supreme Court as authentic, and therefore the case against these police officials proceeded.

The Supreme Court also found that the District Superintendent of Police had been hand in glove with Inspector Sharma by giving him a blank check and not taking any action against him on the complaints of CJM.

The Supreme Court convicted Inspector S. R Sharma and sent him to simple imprisonment for 6 months alongside the DSP. In the end, the Supreme Court noted that it doesn’t approve the CJM’s conduct in visiting the police headquarters on the invitation of Inspector Sharma.

The Supreme Court during this case also issued strict guidelines to be followed by the Police for detaining and arresting a judicial officer

Issues

Why the judicial officers, judges, and magistrates everywhere in the country were insecure?

Several Bar Associations passed resolutions and went on strike. The Delhi Judicial Service Association, the All India Judges Association, Bar Council of UP, Judicial Service of Gujarat, etc. approached the Supreme Court through telegrams and petitions under Article 32 of the constitution of India for saving the dignity and honor of the judiciary. 

Related Provisions

Article 129 thereof recognizes the prevailing inherent power of a Court of Record in its full plenitude including the power to punish for its contempt and contempt of its subordinate. 

Contempt of Courts Act, 1971-Sections 2(c), 12 and 15

Criminal contempt:-Object of punishing contempt-To protect Administration of public justice-Not to guard Judges personally. 

Contempt of Court–Punishment of Power and Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court-Court has inherent power and jurisdiction to need action for contempt of subordinate or inferior courts also-Power to be exercised sparingly-only when contempt is perhaps getting to possess repercussions throughout the country. 

Contempt of Court–High Courts as Courts of Record have inherent power and jurisdiction to need action for contempt of subordinate or inferior courts–Supreme Court having Judicial superintendence over all courts within the country has the same jurisdiction. 

Contempt of Court–Civil and criminal contempt—Criminal contempt–Wide enough to include any act which could tend to interfere with the administration of justice or which could lower the dignity and authority of the court.

Related Cases

E.M. Sankaran Namboodiripad v. T. Narayanan Nambiar, AIR 1970 SC 2015:- It was held as the court observed contempt of court has various kinds – an insult to Judges; attacks upon them; discuss pending proceedings with a fixed to prejudice fair trial; obstruction to officers of Courts, witnesses or the parties; scandalizing the Judges or the courts; conduct of an individual which tends to bring the power and administration of the law into contempt or disregard. Disgraceful acts bring the court into disgrace or disrespect to offend its dignity, affront its majesty or test its authority. 

During this case, such conduct is committed in respect of the entire of the judiciary or judicial system; The court rejected the argument that especially circumstances conduct of the alleged contempt could also be protected by Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution i.e. the right to freedom of speech and expression, observing that the words of the second clause, of an equivalent provision, bring any existing law into operation, thus provisions of the Act 1971 would inherit play and every case is to be examined on its facts and therefore the decision must be reached within the context of what was done or said. 

he Aligarh Municipal Board & Ors. v. Ekka Tonga Mazdoor Union & Ors., AIR 1970 SC 1767:– It is settled principles of law that it’s the seriousness of the irresponsible acts of the contempt and degree of harm caused to the administration of justice, which might decisively determine whether the matter should be tried as a contempt of court or not. 

Vishram Singh Raghubanshi v. State of UP:- J Dr. B.S. Chauhan and J Swatanter Kumar of the Supreme Court of India, have discussed the law concerning the contempt of court vis-a-vis misbehavior / violent behavior against judicial officers. The judgment also discusses the circumstances during which an apology is often accepted by the court for such offenses/misdemeanors.

 Judgement

The Court had issued notices for contempt to Police Inspector Sharma and other contemnors. Mere issue of notice or pendency of contempt proceedings doesn’t attract Art. Contempt of court is punishable by the superior courts by fine or imprisonment, but it has many characteristics different from ordinary offenses.              

Under English Law, a criminal offense is tried by criminal courts with the help of a Jury but contempt of court is tried by courts summarily without the help and assistance of Jury. A summary sort of trial is held within the case of contempt of court and also within the case of contempt of court where the act is committed within the actual view of the court or by a politician of justice. The summary procedure is applicable by old usage when contempt of court was committed out of court by an outsider. 

This Court’s Jurisdiction under Article 129 is confined to the contempt of itself only and it’s no jurisdiction to indict an individual for contempt of a lower court subordinate to the Supreme Court. The Parliament in the exercise of its legislative influence under Entry 77 of List 1 read with Entry 14 of List III has endorsed the Contempt of Courts Act 1971 which don’t confer any jurisdiction on this Court for compelling action for contempt of subordinate courts. Instead, the first jurisdiction of High Courts in respect of contempt of subordinate courts is specifically preserved by Sections 11 and 15 of the Act.

Conclusion

The power to punish for contempt vested during a Court of Record under Article 215 doesn’t, however, reach punishing for contempt of a court. Such impact has never been acknowledged as an aspect of a Court of record nor has the same been specifically conferred upon High Courts under Article 215. Availability of power under Article 129 and its plenitude is yet one more reason why Article 215 could never is intended to empower High Courts to punish for contempt of the Supreme Court. The logic is straight forward. If Supreme Court doesn’t, despite the availability of power vested in it, invoke an equivalent to punish for its contempt, there’s no doubt of a Court subordinate to Supreme Court doing so. The order given by the Supreme Court was without jurisdiction, hence, set aside. 

The power to punish for contempt is vested within the judges not for his or her personal protection only, except for the protection of public justice, whose interest requires that courtesy and dignity is preserved in courts of justice. Those who need to discharge duty throughout a Court of Justice are protected by the law and safeguarded within the discharge of their duties. Any deliberate interference with the discharge of such duties either in court or outside the court by attacking the presiding officers of the court would amount to contempt of court and therefore the courts must take serious cognizance of such conduct.

References

  1. http://www.legalblog.in/2011/06/contemptuous-acts-against-judicial.html
  2. http://newsroom.manupatra.com/Asp/displayart.aspx?itemid=7609
  3. http://roundup.manupatra.in/trans/viewdoc.aspx?i=ptiDy4oUEz7W4RhahAaT6h93RFUeTV40hI1vo81W7g5uCfRP5tL0pktJVchar(43)F5g3qk&id=zwKDa4S8QbBCBSkXPhUPwY5CqQmaAQ/9fT/TmfIpDN9tph1ruv0TNPwcuaX32char(43)fWF14xi/jkdsRCFUyRbDlJYg
  4. https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/118690/12/12_chapter%205.pdf
  5. https://thearticle.in/courtroom/gujarat-police-assaulted-cjm-patel-nadiad/
  6. http://www.legalblog.in/2011/06/contemptuous-acts-against-judicial.html
  7. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1496509/#:~:text=vs%20State%20Of%20Gujarat%20And,Etc%20on%2011%20September%2C%201991&text=PETITIONER%3A%20DELHI%20JUDICIAL%20SERVICE%20ASSOCIATION%20TIS%20HAZARICOURT%2C%20DELHI%20ET%20Vs.&text=Contempt%20of%20Court–High,–Supreme%20Court%20having%20judicial.
  8. https://www.lawyerservices.in/Delhi-Judicial-Service-Association-Versus-State-of-Gujarat-and-Ors-1991-09-11

Questions

Q1. What is the Background of Delhi Judicial Service Association v. State of Gujarat Case?

Q2. What were the facts of Delhi Judicial Service Association v. State of Gujarat Case?

Q3. What were the issues involved in Delhi Judicial Service Association v. State of Gujarat Case?

Q4. What was the judgment rendered in Delhi Judicial Service Association v. State of Gujarat Case?

Q5. What amounts to contempt of court?

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