In Re Vs. Pradhuman Kumar Srivastava [Allahabad High Court, 21-09-2016]


Hon’ble Sudhir Agarwal,J. &Hon’ble Shashi Kant,J.

Delivered on 21.09.2016


Applicant :- In Re

Opposite Party :- Pradhuman Kumar Srivastava, Advocate and 9 Ors.

Counsel for Applicant :- A.G.A.,Sudhir Mehrotra;Counsel for Opposite Party :- Dharam Pal Singh, Sr. Advocate, S.C. Dwivedi,A.K. Srivastava,Avanish Mishra,B.N. Singh,S. Niranjan,Suresh Gupta,U.K. Saxena

(Delivered by Hon’ble Sudhir Agarwal, J.)

1. Criminal contempt proceedings were initiated against 10 Contemnors namely :Pradhuman Kumar Srivastava, Advocate (Contemnor no.1); Arvind Kumar Gautam, Advocate (Contemnor no.2); Gyanendra Singh Rajawat, Advocate (Contemnor no.3); Suresh Dixit, Advocate (Contemnor no.4); Raghunath Das Bishnoi, Advocate (Contemnor no.5); Yusuf Ishtiyaq, Advocate (Contemnor no.6); Karmksheta Awasthi, Advocate (Contemnor no.7); Aftab Ahmad, Advocate (Contemnor no.8); Udai Shankar Dwivedi, Advocate (Contemnor no.9); and, Pankaj Gupta, Advocate (Contemnor no.10), pursuant to an inquiry report of an incident took place on 20th November, 2014 in the afternoon, in District Judgeship Jalaun at Orai in the Court of Manoj Kumar Shukla, Additional District & Sessions Judge, Court No.3, Jalaun at Orai (hereinafter referred to as “Informant-Presiding Officer”).

2. The advocates alongwith the aforesaid Contemnors pressurized Informant-Presiding Officer to retire in Chamber since advocates had passed a resolution of abstention and when he resented, advocates manhandled, assaulted and insulted him. Informant-Presiding Officer narrated the entire incident to Administrative Judge on telephone and also said that District Judge did not take any appropriate action in the matter. On the recommendation of Administrative Judge, Chief Justice vide order dated 21.11.2014 directed a fact finding inquiry, which was conducted by Sri Virendra Kumar-II, Special Officer (Vigilance), High Court, Allahabad [hereinafter referred to as “S.O. (Vig.)”] and he submitted report on 17.12.2014. The report was accepted by Administrative Committee of Court and in the light of the findings recorded by S.O.(Vig.), matter was assigned to Committee dealing with contempt reference from subordinate courts.

3. On 23.02.2015, Committee, prima facie finding a case of criminal contempt, made recommendation whereupon Chief Justice vide order dated 28.3.2015 directed the matter to be placed before Court on judicial side having jurisdiction of criminal contempt.

4. On 7th May, 2015, Court noticing the fact that Contemnors have been found to abuse informant-Presiding Officer, shouted slogans and assaulted him by throwing CPU of computer and pen holder, creating ruckus and ransacked dais of Court, and in the incident some advocates also sustained injuries, found prima facie case of ‘criminal contempt’ against the aforesaid advocates since their aforesaid acts amount to scandalizing the Court, interfering and obstructing administration of justice, tarnishing image of Court and lowering down dignity and authority of Court, issued notice requiring them to show cause why they may not be punished for committing contempt.

5. Contemnors appeared before Court on 7th July, 2015 represented by Sri Dharam Pal Singh, Senior Advocate, who requested to supply a copy of enquiry report dated 17.12.2014. Court issued direction to this effect.

6. Contemnors then filed replies and after perusing the same, Court framed charge against Contemnors on 24.8.2015, which reads as under :

“You, Pradhuman Kumar Srivastava, Arvind Kumar Gautam, Gyanendra Singh Rajawat, Suresh Dixit, Raghunath Das Bishnoi, Yusuf Ishtiyaq, Karmkshetra Awasthi, Aftab Ahmad, Udai Shankar Dwivedi and Pankaj Gupta, Advocates, who are all stated to be practising lawyers and also associated with the District Bar Association of Jalaun at Orai on 20th November, 2014 at about 12.45 p.m. forcibly entered Court No. 3 presided over by Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla, the Additional District & Sessions Judge and shouted slogans using unparliamentary language and assaulted him physically by throwing items on his dais thereby creating a ruckus and ransacked the court resulting in injuries sustained by some of the advocates in the court room that left the court scandalized thereby lowering the esteem of the judiciary. The said incident therefore amounts to a clear interference with and an obstruction in the administration of justice and such act substantially interferes with the due course of justice which falls within the definition of criminal contempt under Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 and, therefore, this court is of the prima facie opinion that you contemnors deserve to be tried for having committed the criminal contempt of the subordinate court as reported for which you deserve to be punished.” (emphasis added)

7. Applications were filed thereafter by Contemnors requesting to supply copies of statements recorded by S.O. (Vig.) on the basis whereof report dated 17.12.2014 was submitted and also a video footage, which was taken note in the said report. Court accepted the said request and vide order dated 01.9.2015, directed to supply the aforesaid material to Contemnors.

8. Though a large number of advocates had put in appearance on behalf of Contemnors but Sri Dharam Pal Singh, Senior Advocate, assisted by Sri Anil Kumar Srivastava has advanced submissions on behalf of all the Contemnors except Contemnor no.5 on whose behalf Sri Avnish Mishra has advanced his submissions. Besides Sudhir Mehrotra, Special Counsel, nominated by Court to assist in this matter, has also advanced his submissions.

9. Having heard learned counsel for parties, perusing video footage and other documents and considering affidavits filed by Contemnors and other relevant material, we proceed to deal with matter on merits. The defence taken by Contemnors in the affidavits and merits would be discussed simultaneously.

10. Informant-Presiding Officer came to be posted at Jalaun at Orai and joined thereat on 15th March, 2014. He was designated as Special Judge, E.C. Act. On 23.04.2014, General Secretary on behalf of District Jalaun Bar Association Orai (hereinafter referred to as “Bar Association”) sent a letter to District Judge complaining against behaviour of Informant-Presiding Officer and stated that members of Bar Association shall abstain judicial work from 24.04.2014. Another letter dated 25.04.2014 sent to Administrative Judge of Judgeship requesting that in the month of May and June, Court’s time be made in morning from 6 A.M. to 1 P.M. instead 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. and it was also said that Informant-Presiding Officer was not working properly and advocates are abstaining Court from 24.04.2014.

11. Subsequently Sri Pradhuman Kumar Srivastava came to be elected as President of Bar Association. A communication dated 18.10.2014 of Secretary, Bar Association was issued to Advocates that Court of Informant-Presiding Officer shall be boycotted till he is transferred outside the District and said communication was also endorsed to District Judge. Vide letter dated 21.10.2014, it was forwarded by Sri Vinod Kumar Yadav, District Judge, Jalaun at Orai to this Court.

12. On 20.11.2014, following massage was received on the mobile of the then Administrative Judge of District Judgeship Jalaun at Orai from informant-Presiding Officer :

“Respected Lordship, Today at 12.45 p.m. Advocate Pradumn Kumar Srivastava, President of Bar and his colleagues attacked on Court and beaten me and the D.J. is not taking any action.

M.K.Shukla, ADJ 3″ (emphasis added)

13. Thereupon Administrative Judge referred the matter to Chief Justice and also vide letter dated 20.11.2014 directed District Judge concerned to take appropriate action and inform immediately.

14. On 21.11.2014, Registrar General submitted note before Chief Justice as under :

“1. The under-signed made telephonic inquiries about the incident mentioned in the said letter, it was established that the said incident has taken place.

2. The lawyers of the Bar Association of District Jalaun at Orai were boycotting the court of Sri Shukla for approximately thirty days.

3. On 20.11.2014 Sri Shukla was sitting in the Court and a mob of lawyers had manhandled him though the District Judge telepathically informed the undersigned that two P.A.C. Personnel were posted there, but it appears that none had come to protect the officer.

4. That there appears serious lapses in making security arrangement for the safety of Sri Shukla.”

(emphasis added)

15. Chief Justice thereupon ordered spot inquiry and this was conducted by S.O. (Vig.), who submitted his 94 pages report.

16. Statements of Court Reader, Orderly and a Class IV employee, were recorded by S.O. (Vig.). Perusal thereof show that at about 12.45 P.M., Informant-Presiding Officer was sitting on the dias when several Advocates entered Court room, shouting slogans, threw CPU of computer and pen-holder towards Informant-Presiding Officer; Table glass and and pen holders were broken and files fell down and scattered. Due to ruckus created by advocates, Informant – Presiding Officer got down from dias whereupon advocates gripped and dragged him out of Court in Varandah. In this ruckus some advocates also sustained injuries. In the process when advocates gripped informant-Presiding Officer and manhandled him, he also got indulged in scuffle.

17. S.O. (Vig.) for the purpose of inquiry formulated following three points :

“1. Whether Sri Pradhuman Kumar Srivastava, the President Bar Association, Jalaun at Orai along with his colleagues attacked on 20.11.2014 in the Court of Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla, Special Officer (Gangster Act)/Additional District & Sessions Judge, Court No. 03, Jalaun at Orai and he was man handled by these advocates?

2. Whether the then District Judge Sri Vinod Kumar Yadav did not provide proper security to Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla and provoked learned counsels to beat him up?

3. Whether on 20.11.2014 at about 12:30 Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla himself along with his gunner and ten constable of P.A.C. assaulted on the member advocates of delegations with kicks, fists and gun and constable of P.A.C. Beaten-up the learned acvocates with sticks and caused injuries to them while these advocates went to inform about the resolution passed in general meeting on 20.11.2014 at about 11:00 a.m.?”

18. After referring to evidence collected by him, he recorded his conclusion and findings as under :

“Conclusion :

On the basis of above discussions and appreciation of the evidence of the witnesses, I have arrived at the following conclusions:-

E.W. 12 Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla, E.W. 48 Sri Shailendra Kumar Sharma, E.W. 37 – HCP 142 Sri Santosh Kumar Sachan, Pairokar of the police station Rampura, E.W. 31 – Sri Arvind Kumar Srivastava, Senior Prosecuting Officer, E.W.18 – Sri Ram Jiyawan Shukla and E.W. 26 – Sri Neeraj Mishra, Class-IV Employees have proved the incident dated 20.10.2014, stating that some advocates had arrived reached in the Court and thrown a bag towards the dais, which dropped between reader and the presiding officer. E.W. 48 – Reader has clarified this fact the learned advocates and the presiding officer had conversation in high volumes of voice, some senior advocates along with Court Moharir took these advocates and accused person out side the court, when the court was vacated by these persons, someone locked the court outside. After one hour this lock was opened by someone. E.W. 48 – clarified this fact that they were detained in the Court Room during this period. After opening of lock further dates were fixed in presence of accused persons.

The learned advocates have conveyed this fact that on 20.11.2014, a resolution was passed at about 11:00 a.m. in the general meeting of the District Bar Association, which was handed over at about 11:15 a.m. by the delegation of Bar Association to the District Judge, then the delegation informed the various courts about boycott and reached at about 12:30 p.m. At the court of Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla. Video recording made by him also shows time of recording on 20.11.2014 time at about 01:04:08. They have refuted this suggestion that delegation of the Bar association went straightway to the court of Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla, after visiting the chamber of the District Judge.

The learned advocates have stated that Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla has passed orders arbitrarily and illegally. He has insulted the litigants and learned advocates in the open court. They have quoted an example of his misbehave that Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla told a litigant in presence of Sri Devendra Ved, Senior Advocate, while he was conducting cross examination that why he has engaged learned advocate, he will cause damage to him and he would be convicted. On the same day, Sri Devendra Ved, sustained cardiac attack. The learned advocates have forwarded complaint written as well as oral regarding misbehave of Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla to the District Bar Association. The learned advocates have also clarified this fact that most of the learned advocates are not satisfied with the working of Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla.

Finding on Issue No.01.

The learned advocates entered in the Court room of Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla forcefully and attacked on 20.11.2014 at about 12:45 – 01:00 p.m. on him while he was sitting on the dias.

Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla has named Sri Pradhuman Kumar Srivastava, the president of the District Bar Association, Arvind Kumar Singh, Rajawat, Suresh Dixit, Raghunath Dass Bishnoi and Yusuf Ishtiyaq who abused him, shouted slogans and assaulted him by throwing CPU of computer, pen holder and beaten him up.

I have watched video recording produced by Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla. It revealed that Sri Pradhuman Kumar Srivastava, Advocate, E.W.1 the President and E.W. 02 Sri Arvind Kumar Gautam, Advocate, General secretary of the District Bar Association along with 10-15 advocates entered forcefully and created ruckus and ransacked the dais of the court of Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla E.W.1 – Sri Pradhuman Kumar Srivastava, Sri Gyanendra Singh Rajawat, E.W.-08 – Sri Suresh Dixit, E.W.43 – Sri Karma Kshetra Awasthi, Sri Aftab Ahmad, E.W.-4, Sri Udai Shanker Dwivedi, Sri Pankaj Gupta, Advocates sustained injuries in this incident dated 20-11-2014 is established, which shows they have participated actively in this incident. Therefore, proceeding of the contempt of the court of Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla should be drawn against these learned advocates.

E.W.36 – Constable No. 65 – Sri Abir Singh Court Moharir of the Court of Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla also sustained injuries, while he was trying to save Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla. He has also clarified this fact that only two P.A.C personnels armed with rifles were present at the point of time of incident dated 20-11-2014.

E.W.36 and E.W.15 – Sri Raj Kumar Segar, E.W. 16 – Sri Member Singh, P.A.C. Personnel, E.W.17 Sri Ramesh Chandra Bhadauria, Reader, E.W. 18 Sri Raj Jiyawan Shukla and E.W. 26 – Sri Neerj Mishra, Class IV Employees and E.W.31 – Senior Prosecuting Officer has proved this fact that no baton charge was made on the learned advocates and these employees tried to save Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla during the course of incident dated 20-11-2014.

E.W. 32 – Sri Girja Shanker Dwivedi and Sri E.W.34 – Sri Kamal Kant Kushwaha, have clarified this fact that on 20-11-2014, no baton charge was made on learned advocates only slap and fists were used during thrashing each other. E.W. 34 has stated that police personnels were not having sticks. E.W. 38 – Sri Ashok Kumar Mishra, Advocate has clarified this fact that Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla gripped and thrashed only one advocate E.W.47 – Sri Sanjeev Kumar Gurjar, Assistant Government counsel of the Court of Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla has also clarified this fact that Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla had abused learned advocates only, he did not see anyone to thrash each other. No F.I.R. Has been lodged yet and no injury report of any learned advocate has been produced before me, who sustained injuries in the incident dated 20.11.2014.

Finding on Point No.3

1. It is pertinent to mention here that on the basis of appreciation of evidence of the above mentioned witnesses and fact and circumstances narrated by them, it revealed that Sri Manoj Shukla after attack on him got down from the dais and abused learned advocates who entered in the court room. Meanwhile, advocates gripped him and dragged towards Varandah outside his court and manhandled and abused him also. Thus Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla has also provoked learned advocates and indulge in scuffle with those advocates.

Work and conduct of Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla.

On persual of comments dated 17-04-2014, it is clearly established that Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla had protested against the then District Judge, because he was not satisfied with the allotment of his residence and shifting of his court room. Likewise, the then District Judge had discharged him from the responsibility as the Officer In- charge of Library and Nodal Officer of Computers. The reasons mentioned by him regarding the irregularities committed for the purchase of oil, toner of ink cartridge for computer printer and judgment paper and other stationery items and non availability of new edition of books at library, may likely be correct, even then it is inferred from the facts mentioned in this comments that Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla was not satisfied with the allotment of his official accommodation and shifting of his court.

The incident dated 24.04.2014 occurred at night at the guest house of Irrigation Department has been conjoined by Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla with the facts of recall of Civil Appeal No. 50 of 2012 – Smt. Khillan Devi Vs. State of U.P. which is not acceptable, because Civil Appeal No. 50 of 2012 was related to section 72 Excise Act, which could have only he heard by the District Judge as held by Hon’ble High Court, Allahabad and Uttranchal (Uttrakahnd) High Court.

On perusal of the documentary evidence produced by E.W. -40 – Sri Harnath Singh, Senior Advocate, it revealed that it may be possible that office bearer of the District Bar Association tried to pressurize Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla to obtain favorable orders n their favour and members advocate of their group. There is substance in the statement of Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla that he was pressurized by learned advocates, whose name has been mentioned by him in his statement of procure judicial order/judgment in their favour.

Therefore, on the basis of evidence of E.W. 40 Sri Harnath Singh, Senior Advocate, E.W.-45 Sri Raja Ram Chaturvedi and E.W. 46 Sri Rajesh Kumar, Advocate, it revealed that office bearer of the District Bar Association and some other advocates of their groups were not satisfied with the way of working of Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla and they could not be successful to pressurize him therefore, they carried on boycott the court of Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla from 18.10.2014.

Learned advocates have conveyed this fact that no complaint was received at the Bar Association that Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla has decided cases by receiving bribe. He is not a corrupt judicial officer.


Point in issue no.2.


Findings :

On the basis of these facts and circumstances inference may be drawn safely that Sri Vinod Kumar Yadav, the then District Judge, Jalaun at Orai has facilitated learned advocates to carry on boycott of judicial work of his court, during the period from 20.10.2014 up to 20.11.2014 and to commit incident on these dates.


19. Now we may refer to the replies filed by Contemnors.

20. Except Contemnor 5 Raghunath Das Vishnoi, a collective reply vide affidavit of Contemnor 1, sworn on 24.8.2015, has been filed. It is said that the incident dated 20.11.2014 has not happened in the manner as alleged by ‘Informant-Presiding Officer’ and recorded by S.O.(Vig.) in his report. Contemnors neither abused nor assaulted Informant-Presiding Officer nor damaged court’s property. The video recording, which was prepared by Informant-Presiding Officer, has been wrongly relied by S.O.(Vig.) ignoring the fact that such recording in Court is not permissible and it goes a long way to suggest/determine the own conduct of Informant-Presiding Officer. Video recording was shown to S.O. (Vig.) on 26/27.11.2014 i.e. after a gap of 6-7 days giving sufficient opportunity for manipulation in video recording. The preparation/recording of video by manipulation by several device including device of cut paste is a common feature, which the modern development of science has made easily possible. With regard to injuries sustained by some advocates, inquiry report does not refer to medical report of anyone else. Recording of Video through laptop at the time of alleged occurrence was practically not possible. Video recording timing is 01:04:08 p.m. on 20.11.2014 whereas the incident is said to have taken place between 12:45 to 1.00 p.m.

21. Then in paras 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 of affidavit, allegations are made against Informant-Presiding Officer and it would be appropriate to reproduce the same as under :

“15. That the bare perusal of the Inquiry Report would show that the learned Judge, Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla appears to be Modern Don Quijote-de-la Mancha. He posses himself to be a fighter treating all others as wrong and full of vices. He has complaint against all possible authorities i.e. District Judge, Police Authorities including S.S.P., District Administration including District Magistrate, prosecution lawyers and lowyers in general and litigants, who unfortunately happen to be attending the court of the Learned Judge, Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla. Sri Shukla is in the habit of issuing notices to all possible authorities in almost every case. He is in the habit of teasing the litigants, not only in criminal cases, but also in civil cases. Inspite of receiving High Court’s order of bail keeping the accused in jail for weeks is his usual habit. To call Advocates, “Dalal” of District Judge and other Judicial is his daily practice. All these facts came to the light during inquiry proceeding by the Learned Vigilance Officer.

16. That it has also come in the inquiry report that Learned Judge, Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla is in the habit of abusing his own staff, like his stenographer.

17. That the evidence of EW-23 Sri Umesh Dixit, Stenographer of Learned Judge, Sri Monoj Kumar Shukla discussed at Page 259 to 261 is sufficient to show/prove that the Learned Judge, Sri Manoj Shukla himself responsible for what happened on the day of occurrence. In view of the evidence of EW-23, the observations of the Learned Vigilance Officer with respect to the Issue No.01 are subject to more than one interpretation and not justified.

18. That the Learned Vigilance Officer has clearly found that the Learned Judge, Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla has manipulated/ prepared false evidence against the then Learned District Judge, and S.S.P. Jalaun at Orai (Kindly see at page no.203 of the inquiry report).

19. That the Learned Vigilance Officer has also observed (page 275 – 276) that he could not peruse the inquiry report dated 28.06.2014 and the letter dated 24.04.2014 submitted by Sri Vinod Kumar Yadav, the then district Judge, Sri Manoj Kumar Shukla.

20. That regarding the work and conduct of Pradhuman Kumar Srivastava made by Learned Vigilance Officer at page 276 of report, it is submitted here that Pradhuman Kumar Srivastava (present deponent) has never been served with a copy of any show cause notice with respect to the Transfer Application (Civil) No. 501 of 2014 filed before this Hon’ble Court. To the best of knowledge of the deponent, he has never written any letter dated 20.09.2014 is filed in the aforesaid case. If any such letter dated 20.09.2014 is filed in the aforesaid transfer application, the same is denied by the deponent. It appears that (if at all) aforesaid letter dated 20.09.2014 is a forged document prepared and produced by the parties to the litigation.”

22. All these paragraphs have been sworn by Contemnor no.1- deponent of the affidavit, on personal knowledge.

23. Contemnor 5, Raghunath Das Bisnoi had filed a separate reply through Sri Suresh Gupta, Advocate, and Sri V.P.Srivastava, Senior Advocate. A preliminary objection is taken that as per

Rule 6 of Chapter XXXV-E of Rules of the Court, 1952

(hereinafter referred to as “1952 Rules”), notice has not accompanied copy of SMS message sent by Informant-Presiding Officer, statement of witnesses and other documents. In the message sent by Informant-Presiding Officer, Contemnor 5 was not referred or named. Inquiry report shows that offence under Section 228read with 323 IPC was committed, hence, in view of proviso to

Section 10 of Contempt of Courts Act, 1971

(hereinafter referred to as “Act, 1971”), no cognizance could have been taken. The Informant – Presiding Officer ought to have lodged a complaint under Section 340 Cr.P.C. S.O. (Vig.) did not frame any issue regarding identity of persons actually involved in the incident dated 18.11.2014 (though incident given rise to this criminal contempt is dated 20.11.2014 but in para 3(IV), Contemnor no.5 has mentioned the date of incident as 18.11.2014). In detailed reply, it is said that S.O. (Vig.) has taken note of various incidents occurred during 20.10.2014 to 24.11.2014 though the inquiry was confined to the incident dated 20.11.2014. Contemnor 5 neither participated in the incident nor was present in the Court nor in the vicinity of Court of Informant – Presiding Officer. Wife of Contemnor 5 is a patient of Multiple Myeloma (Blood Cancer) for the last three years and under treatment of Experts of Apollo Cancer Institute, New Delhi; Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai; Vendanta Hospital Gurgaon, Haryana and Rajeev Gandhi Research Institute, New Delhi.

24. Contemnor 5 had no time to indulge himself in politics of Bar Association and appears in Court when his case is taken up in respective Courts. On 20.11.2014, when resolution was passed by Association, Contemnor 5 was neither present nor signed the said resolution. Informant – Presiding Officer has personal grudge against Contemnor 5 since he was making several complaints under a wrong impression that Contemnor 5 provoked advocates for strike/demonstration against him at the instance of Sri Vinod Kumar Yadav, the then District Judge. The fact is that in three cases, narrated by Informant – Presiding Officer, neither Contemnor 5 was counsel nor had filed any transfer application. Informant – Presiding Officer has not named Contemnor 5 in the message sent to Administrative Judge on mobile and inclusion of his name is an after thought for some other reasons. None of the witnesses mentioned name of Contemnor 5 or his presence in the Court. S.O. (Vig.) himself has found Informant – Presiding Officer guilty of lying in chambers for 7-8 hours and misbehaving with his own staff. S.O. (Vig.) has used the word “patient of psychiatry” for Informant – Presiding Officer. No attempt has been made by S.O. (Vig.) to identify the advocates, allegedly involved in the incident.

25. After framing of charge, Contemnors have filed their replies and we may refer the same in brief as under :

26. Contemnor 1: Denying the charge, he has said that in case he is found guilty, he is offering his unconditional apology. However, it is said that S.O. (Vig.), who has relied on statements of (1) EW – 15 – Sri Raj Kumar Sengar (PAC); (2) EW – 16 – Sri Member Singh (PAC); (3) EW – 17 – Sri Ramesh Chandra Bhadauriya – Reader of the Court; (4) EW – 18 – Ram Jiyawan Shukla- Ardaly of the Court; (5) EW – 26 – Sri Neeraj Mishra – Office Peon of the Court; (6) EW – 31 – Sri Arvind Kumar Tiwari – Senior Prosecuting Officer; (7) EW – 32 – Sri Girja Shanker Dwivedi – An Advocate of long standing at Orai Courts; (8) EW – 34 – Sri Kamal Kant Kushwaha – Advocate at Orai Courts; (9) EW – 36 – CP Abeer Singh- Court Moharir of IIIrd A.D.J.; and (10) EW – 47 – Sri Sanjeev Kumar Gurjar – Assistant Government Counsel (ADGC); and if all these statements are taken together, the real picture of occurrence is not clear and free from doubt. There is a witness EW – 23 – Umesh Chandra Dixit, Court Stenographer, whose statement is otherwise. EW – 36 – CP Abir Singh, stated that Informant – Presiding Officer threatened him to depose against Contemnors. EW – 47 – Sanjeev Kumar Gurjar, ADGC, has also deposed against Informant – Presiding Officer. Video recording is nothing but a silent recording and is a manipulated act of Informant – Presiding Officer. The purpose is to remove remarks or abuses or vulgar and unparliamentary statements of Informant – Presiding Officer. The facility of video recording on laptop was not available to subordinate judiciary and the very fact that video recording has been made, shows conduct of Informant – Presiding Officer. Video recording only shows that Police Personnel were trying to obstruct entries of lawyers. Even if lawyers were trying to enter Court room, it cannot be said that purpose of lawyers was to interfere in administration of justice. Advocates are free to move in Court and their entry could not have been obstructed. The presence of Contemnor 1 has not been proved by any independent evidence. Work and conduct of Informant – Presiding Officer itself was objectionable and even if he was not a corrupt officer, he had no licence to misbehave with others. The comments and findings recorded by S.O. (Vig.) against Presiding Officer fortify this inference.

27. Contemnor 5 in his separate affidavit has stated that in the statements given by various witnesses, who are employees of the Court, Police Personnel or Government Advocates i.e. EW-15, 16, 17, 20, 23, 24, 26, 31, 36 and 42, his presence has not been found at the time of incident. Contemnor 5 has been falsely implicated by Informant – Presiding Officer.

28. Contemnor 6 is 68 years of age and has a practice in law for the last 40 years. Against Informant-Presiding Officer, two complaints were made thereupon District Judge made inquiry and submitted report but no action has been taken by Court, which encouraged Informant-Presiding Officer to behave arrogantly and use derogatory words to the advocates and others. In Special Trial No.73 of 2005 (State Vs. Navi Bux) under Section 135 Electricity Act, P.S. Kotwali Orai, Contemnor 6 was appearing as counsel for accused and vide judgment dated 22.04.2014, Court convicted accused and sentenced for two years rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs.75,000/-. The judgment was delivered at 3:30 P.M. Contemnor 6 prepared applications for providing certified copy of judgment, and to stay fine and enlarge accused on bail. The applications were not received in the Court and instead Informant-Presiding Officer retired to his Chamber. Ultimately, accused was released on bail by High Court in Criminal Appeal. Contemnor 6 personally met District Judge and made complaint against conduct and behaviour of Informant-Presiding Officer. He also moved an application before President, Bar Association on 22.4.2014 whereupon resolution to boycott judicial work of Court of Informant – Presiding Officer was passed from 24.4.2014 to 30.04.2014. For this reason, Informant – Presiding Officer got annoyed with Contemnor 6 and included his name in the present criminal contempt matter. On 20.11.2014, when the incident took place, Contemnor 6 was in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Case No.2052 of 2013, Roop Singh Vs. Rakesh & Ors., under Sections 147, 148, 323,307, 504, 506 IPC, P.S. Kalpi, District Jalaun. Contemnor 6 is not shown in the video footage and none has named him except Informant-Presiding Officer. Contemnor 6 is in legal practice for the last 40 years and all employees are well known by him by his name and fact. If Contemnor 6 would have been present in the Court, then the employees of Court would have immediately identify him and told his name.

29. Contemnor 9 in his separate affidavit/reply has stated that neither in any report of S.O. (Vig.) nor in video recording there is anything to implicate him and there is nothing to show his presence in the Court. Further video recording is not admissible in evidence as there is no voice hence it is a tempered evidence. When the incident occurred, Contemnor 9 was in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate and was coming from that Court. Then again some allegations are made against Informant – Presiding Officer.

30. Contemnors 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 10, have filed their replies, though separately, but taken stand similar to the reply given by Contemnor 1 hence we are not repeating the same.

31. When the matter was taken up for arguments, learned Senior Advocate appearing for Contemnors, except Contemnor 5, stated that defence taken by Contemnors in their affidavit may be perused by the Court. No argument with regard to legal or preliminary objection has been advanced and instead it is said that entire material on record show that even if some incident has taken place on the fateful day, advocates are not solely responsible for the same but there was ample contribution on the part of Informant – Presiding Officer. It is in these facts and circumstances, Court may examine the matter and take a decision so as to do justice throughout.

32. Learned Senior Advocate fairly stated that being an officer of Court, it is the bounden duty of all advocates to ensure that majesty and authority of Court is maintained by all concerned. Whatever may be the reason, no one has any justification to create a scene in Court, disturb court proceedings, raise slogans and address Court in an abusive manner and all these things are unpardonable. Since these activities are found to lower down authority of Court in the eyes of general public, it may have a serious impact on the very authority of institution. People have great faith and confidence in the institution of justice. Officers of the Court i.e. advocates, therefore, are duty bound to maintain absolute dignity, majesty and authority of the Court and behave in a proper disciplined manner. Even if there is some wanting conduct on the part of Informant – Presiding Officer at a particular point of time, the remedy lies elsewhere but not by creating a scene in Court i.e. by destroying the items kept in Court or by showing disrespect to the Chair. When a contemptuous conduct is shown in Court, it is not to show disrespect or to lower down authority of an individual but the institution and the Court itself, therefore, anybody, if has adopted ways and means having effect of lowering down authority of Court, is open to face appropriate action under the Provisions of Act, 1971. Having said so, learned Senior Advocate, however, submitted that all Contemnors implicated in this matter are not guilty of allegations levelled against them, and, in any case, there is no sufficient evidence to show that all ten Contemnors were present at the time of incident and did whatever they are charged for.

33. It is pointed out that Contemnors 1, 3 and 4 are visible in video recording and have also been named by Informant – Presiding Officer. Contemnors 5 and 6 are not visible in video recording but named by Informant – Presiding Officer. Contemnors 2, 7, 8, 9 and 10 are neither visible in video recording nor named by Informant – Presiding Officer.

34. On the request of Court, Contemnors have also identified other advocates visible in video recording, who are not named by Informant – Presiding Officer and, therefore, proceedings have not been initiated against them, and, they are; Navneet Sagar Pathak, Shanker Lal Tarsolia, Ram Lakhan Singh Chauhan and Upendra Pratap Singh.

35. With regard to authenticity of video recording, learned Senior Advocate has submitted that; length of recording is 31.12 minutes with gap of 7 – 8 minutes. It is in three parts i.e. (i) prior to entry of Advocates; (ii) on and after entry of Advocates; and (iii) after alleged incident showing peaceful functioning of Court. First part shows broken window glass panes lying on the floor. video recording is personal property of Informant – Presiding Officer, prepared by himself, on his laptop fitted with camera; It is soundless/silent video does not show either Informant – Presiding Officer or alleged manhandling, assault etc.; The other persons visible in video recording, also identified by Contemnors, are, Sanjeev Gurjar, Advocate, Additional District Government Counsel, A.K.Tewari, Senior Prosecuting Officer, five male and one female police personal, few clients and accused persons, peon of the Court. In the third part of video recording i.e. after the incident, it also shows presence of one Sub-Inspector, Gunner of District Judge and few Policemen with Dandas.

36. Sri Sudhir Mehrotra, learned Advocate, appointed by court for assistance, contended that incident of forcible entry in the Court room, slogans shouting, abuse and manhandling is proved and presence of most of the Contemnors, in particular all Contemnors except Contemnors 5 and 6 is also well evidenced from record. Looking to the nature of conduct shown by Contemnors in Court not only charge of criminal contempt is well proved but they do not deserve any sympathetic consideration and instead most severe punishment deserve to be awarded so that in future no one else may dare to show such conduct.

37. The facts narrated above and record at least show undoubtedly that a group of advocates led by Contemnor 1 created a scene in the Court of Informant – Presiding Officer on 20.11.2014 in which some property of Court was damaged, Presiding Officer was manhandled and some advocates also sustained injuries. Informant – Presiding Officer though has named, before S.O. (Vig.), Contemnor 1 to 6 but in video recording made available to the S.O. (Vig.) and viewed by us also, presence of Contemnors 1, 3 and 4 is clearly visible and established. Besides, report shows that Contemnors 7, 8, 9 and 10 sustained injuries in the incident, which took place on 20.11.2014. In reply to the charge, all these Contemnors have filed their separate affidavits but we find not even a single averment or assertion that these Contemnors did not sustain injury at all and if they sustained injuries, how and in what manner, and kind of injuries they sustained, is also not explained.

38. One Constable Abir Singh, Court Moharir, had also sustained injuries when he tried to save Informant – Presiding Officer.

39. Though a technically objection has been raised that video recording is not admissible in evidence or that it was a private property but suffice it to mention that criminal contempt proceeding initiated by Court are not to be proceeded like a criminal trial where provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act are applicable. These statutes are not applicable in contempt proceedings. The basic purpose of entire procedure is to find out whether Contemnors have shown any such conduct, which amounts to ‘criminal contempt’ of Court and for that purpose manner in which evidence has been collected is not relevant but it is the substance and creditworthiness of evidence which can be and has to be seen.

40. Damage of CPU, pen holder and window panes is well established. Nobody has either denied above damage nor has attempted to explain the same.

41. Contemnor 1 and some other advocates had some complaint against Informant-Presiding Officer. They repeatedly participated in resolutions of Bar Association for boycotting/abstaining Court of Informant-Presiding Officer. This is well admitted. Contemnor 1 has specifically pleaded that Informant-Presiding Officer, even if honest, that does not give him any licence to misbehave. Meaning thereby, integrity of Informant-Presiding Officer has not been doubted even by Contemnor 1, who has led entire episode to fight with Informant-Presiding Officer, with other colleagues and have shown no misery in using all contemptuous words against Informant-Presiding Officer.

42. The defence, put up by Contemnors, is quite natural since it is not expected that they would accept guilt silently and without any protest. But factum that integrity of Informant-Presiding Officer has not been doubted even by Contemnor 1 and also evidence collected by S.O. (Vig.) showing that some advocates including officer bearers of Bar Association wanted favourable orders or favourable treatment in Court of Informant-Presiding Officer and having failed in their attempt, all these activities was done, show that there was an intentional and deliberate attempt either to knee down Informant-Presiding Officer or to get him removed by way of his transfer elsewhere. This is a conduct, whether shown by all Contemnors or some of them, but, seriously objectionable as it, ex facie, constitute ‘criminal contempt’ of Court. It satisfies all ingredients of definition of ‘criminal contempt’ as defined under Section 2(c) of Act, 1971.

43. This is also unfortunate that Contemnors and their colleagues got encouraged in going to this extent due to, either lack of appropriate administrative steps taken by District Judge or due to his silent support and encouragement. The reasons given by Informant-Presiding Officer with regard to apathy on the part of the then District Judge has not been found without any basis by S.O. (Vig.). However, in the present contempt, we are confined ourselves only to the question of ‘criminal contempt’ by Contemnors and not to other aspect of the matter.

44. Before proceeding further, we may consider some legal issues in the matter. One of the contention is that incident, if has actually taken place, amounts to an offence and, therefore, contempt proceedings would not lie.

45. Similar issue was considered in

State of M.P. Vs. Revashankar, AIR 1959 SC 102

in which Court said that an aspersion cast upon Court or Presiding Officer, sitting in a Court, is much more than a mere insult to learned Presiding Officer. In effect, it amounts to scandalize the Court in a way so as to distrust in popular mind and impair confidence of people in Courts. Therefore, irrespective of the fact that loss or damage of Court property may satisfy requirement of offence under some provisions of IPC, the act of Contemnor, which scandalize or tends to scandalize or lowers or tends to lower authority of the Court is a ‘criminal contempt’ and has to be dealt with in accordance with provisions of Act, 1971.

46. In

Re: Arundhati Roy, AIR 2002 SC 1375

Court held that offence under IPC is different than Contempt of Court. The law of defamation under Penal Code cannot be equated with law of contempt of Court in general terms. Relying on Privy Council decision in

Surender Nath Vs. Chief Justice and Judges of the High Court, 10 Calcutta 109

it was held that

“although contempt may include defamation, yet an offence of contempt is something more than mere defamation and is of a different character”.

47. What is made punishable under various provisions of IPC offence of damage of a public property, obstruction in function of a public servant etc. but is foreign for proceeding for contempt of Court. If an act satisfy definition of ‘criminal contempt’, as defined under Section 2(c) of Act, 1971, proceedings for such act can be taken only under Act, 1971 quite apart from the fact that other remedy may also be open to aggrieved officer under various provisions of IPC.

48. It has also been argued that incident was aggravated by Informant-Presiding Officer, who got down from dias and indulged in shuffling with Advocates. In this regard we have been taken through report of S.O.(Vig.). The submission is attractive but we failed to understand how one can expect a person, who is facing a charged atmosphere, having several advocates before him abusing, shouting, throwing pen-holders, CPU in Court room, damaging glass panes and attempting to hold him, will silently suffer entire incident and shall not show even a minimum possible resistance, which a normal human being could have done in such atmosphere. This may be seen by some as counter attack. We have to look into it visualising that situation and a normal behaviour expected from a person of ordinary prudence facing such a situation. The advocates’ attitude, who forcibly entered Court room was clearly hostile and threatening. Their anger is writ large from the fact that some Court and members of Bar, besides Police Constable, also who tried to defend Informant-Presiding Officer, sustained injuries. If, in such an atmosphere, Informant-Presiding Officer also hit one or two advocates an attempt to protect himself, it is difficult to hold that it is a case of attempt of manhandling by Informant-Presiding Officer and not an attempt on his part of possible self-defence. We find no reason to take this act on the part of Informant-Presiding Officer, even if correct, to mitigate in any way the act of “criminal contempt” of Contemnors, which is a multifarious and multifaceted act of lowering down authority of Court and to scandalize it.

49. The next objection is with regard to video recording. Though it has been pleaded that video recording may possibly be tempered etc., but no such Expert’s opinion has been brought on record though copy of video recording was also made available to all Contemnors. The only objection raised is that recording, made available, has no sound. However, whatever is visible itself is sufficient to give an idea about the incident, which had taken place in Court. It is fortified with other material on record. It cannot be said that what is being depicted in video recording is incorrect or show inconsistency so as to suffice to disbelieve the very incident.

50. Though we have already held that in contempt proceedings, provisions of IPC and Evidence Act, as such, are not applicable but even if applicable, we find that scientific and electronic evidence is admissible in the light of Section 65B of the Evidence Act.

51. The incident of forcible entry into Court room, disturbance in Court room, damage to Court property, abuse, assault and manhandling of Informant-Presiding Officer, from the discussions made above, is well established. The presence and participation of Contemnors 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10 is also established. It is really a disturbing case where Officers of Court had created such an abhorrent scene in Court for some petty personal gains or otherwise.

52. We are of the view that above act and conduct constitute “Criminal Contempt”, as stated, and charge stands well established against Contemnors 1, 3, 4, and 7 to 10. We hold them guilty of criminal contempt.

53. We may notice at this stage that Jalaun at Orai is not a very old District Judgeship. Number of Judicial Officers is much less comparing to number of advocates practicing thereat, which is about 600 to 700. Judicial Officers are regularly transferred, therefore, their tenure at a station is short but Class III and IV staff, normally remain posted in same district, are always in constant touch with members of Bar and for various reasons, different relations develop among them. We find that whenever such an incident has taken place, advocates in general get united and evidence against their conduct becomes a difficult task for the reason that neither advocates nor even lower staff is readily available or dare to give evidence in respect of incident, if had taken place in the Court.

54. Jalaun is a place where number of criminal cases are very high in comparison to civil litigation. Judicial Officers work under great stress from day one, when they deal with applications filed under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. or consider bail applications, what to talk of substantive trial. Whenever an Officer, who is tough in the sense that he is known for his hard decisions in criminal matters, advocates find him mostly inconvenient and relentless efforts are made to get such an officer transferred at the earliest or to get subdued.

55. Looking to the crime control machinery and its attitude in the State of Uttar Pradesh, we have no hesitation in observing that our Judicial Officers in Subordinate Courts, who want to discharge their duties with great devotion and integrity, find a very difficult task to deal with situation like the one, we are confronted with. That is one of the major reason that we find a large number of cases of criminal contempt across the State. The Bench presided over by one of us (Sudhir Agarwal,J) has dealt with more than fifty such a cases decided finally in the last one and half year.

56. It is the constitutional obligation of High Court to protect and save honour, dignity and authority, not only of subordinate Court but Judicial Officers also, manning the same. It is also our duty to ensure fearless atmosphere in which they may function without any cause of apprehension. Foundation of judicial system is based on independence of those, who man it. This can be ensured by providing a safe, well protected and well guarded working atmosphere to Judicial Officers working in subordinate Courts so as to ensure work with desired devotion and integrity. No one, whether a litigant or an advocate or any one else can be allowed to lead a demonstration so as to tarnish and destroy system of administration of justice by vilification of a Judge.

57. It is said that Judges need no protection. They are well capable of taking care themselves but when question of assault, manhandling arises, where an individual gets out-classed by large group of persons engaged in such activities, it is not judicial capability of such individual but on the spot capability of those who had indulged in such an activities, which has to be taken care, else it will be difficult for us to ensure a fair, unbiased and independent functioning of a Court of law. We have to take care of such a situation.

58. In this case we are really shocked and disturbed to see that officer responsible for appropriate action i.e. District Judge himself failed in tackling the situation.

59. In

Jennison Vs. Baker 1972 (1) All ER 997 (CA)

it was observed,

“… The law should not be seen to sit by limply, while those who defy it go free, and those who seek its protection lose hope”.

60. Contemnors though have made statement of apology also in their affidavits, but, it is not only conditional but an attempt to avoid any sentence, in case case they are held guilty. It does not appear to be a bona fide repentance on their part showing an attitude of feeling guilty and forwarding an assurance that they are, by heart, intends to purge, assuring not to repeat the same in future. It is not a technical regret /apology, which a contemnor is expected to offer to Court. It is not a weapon of defence to purge guilty of the wrong, one has committed. It is not intended to operate as an universal panacea, but it is intended to be evidence of real contriteness.

61. In

Mulk Raj Vs. State of Punjab, (1972) 3 SCC 839

Court held that apology is an act of contrition. Unless an apology is offered at the earliest opportunity and in good grace, apology is shorn of penitence. If apology is offered at a time when Contemnor finds that the Court is going to impose punishment, it ceases to be an apology and it becomes an act of cringing coward.

62. In the present case, on one hand, Contemnors appears to have tendered apology but simultaneously have made serious aspersions against Informant-Presiding Officer and Court, and, have pleaded all defence for their deeds. The apology, therefore, being shallow, artificial and lacking bona fide, cannot be accepted.

63. Now, coming to the question of sentence and punishment, we find that role of individual Contemnors is not to be seen for the reason that in collusion with common intention, they have caused incident by forcibly entering Court room, disturbing Court proceedings, damaging Court property, abusing and assaulting Judicial Officer. Since all the Contemnors have participated with a common intention, factum that any individual has actually abused or assaulted Informant-Presiding Officer or not, is not material, but every Contemnor is equally responsible and guilty of committing criminal contempt of Court and responsibility of all Contemnors is equal.

64. Looking to the entire facts and circumstances, we award punishment of six months simple imprisonment upon Contemnors 1, 3, 4, 7, 8 9 and 10 and fine of Rs.2,000/- (Rupees Two Thousand only).

65. In order to ensure smooth functioning of Court, we also direct that Contemnors 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10 shall not enter Court premises of Jalaun at Orai for a period of one year, which shall commence from 23rd September, 2016. Further, conduct and attitude of Contemnors after expiry of aforesaid period, if they start practice of Law in Judgeship Jalaun at Orai, shall under constant watch of District Judge, Jalaun at Orai for a period of three years and if he finds any untoward activity on the part of Contemnors, he shall report to this Court forthwith.

66. So far as Contemnors 2, 5 and 6 are concerned, they are held not guilty and contempt proceedings initiated against them are dropped and they are discharged.

67. Accordingly, Contempt Application is partly allowed in the aforesaid manner.

1. After delivery of the judgment, Contemnors 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10 state that sentence in their case may be deferred to enable them to avail remedy of appeal under Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

2. We, therefore, suspend our order of punishment of sentence of simple imprisonment made against Contemnors 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10 for a period of two months to enable them to file appeal under Section 19, if so advised. In case no appeal is filed, and, if filed, and no otherwise order is passed by Appellate Court, the aforesaid Contemnors shall surrender themselves after expiry of the period of two months i.e. on 23.11.2016 before Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jalaun at Orai, who shall take appropriate steps for getting Contemnors serve sentence of imprisonment imposed upon them under this order.

3. So far as amount of fine is concerned, Contemnors may pay the same either in this Court or with District Judge, Jalaun at Orai or with Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jalaun at Orai within three months.

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