C HARIPRASAD Vs. G VASANTHA PAI
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
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(1.) THIS application was filed by a private party. C. Hariprasad, for taking action by this Court for contempt under S. 3 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1952 (Central act XXXII of 1952) against Sri G. Vasantha Pai, the respondent herein, an advocate of this Court. The application had a somewhat long and chequered history, but owing to certain developments subsequent to the filing of the application, the scope of the enquiry has been narrowed down to a considerable extent, and therefore, we propose to touch briefly on the several points raised in the present proceedings and which have formed the subject-matter of acute controversy between the rival parties.
(2.) THE petitioner Hariprasad is the second defendant in C. S. No. 65 of 1964 which was a suit filed by the Amalgamated Commercial Traders Private Limited. The suit was pending before Sadasivam, J. sitting on the Original Side of this court. Hariprasad filed I. A. No. 1838 of 1964 praying that the plaintiff's should be directed to offer security for the ultimate costs in the suit. In the affidavit filed in support of the interlocutory application, inter alia, the following allegation was made by Hariprasad:
"in Madras, the company has sold its only valuable property being premises 5, Deenadayalu Street even when a winding up petition C. P. No. 42 of 1960 was pending in this Hon'ble Court, and the sale proceeds have been utilised in one or other of the loan transactions referred to, for the benefit of the Morarkas. The company has no staff in Madras except an attender now promoted as Assistant, Mr. Harry Kingsley. He is totally ignorant of the affairs of the company; but the company has shifted its registered office to 337, thambu Chetty Street in a room adjacent to the office of its counsel Mr. G. Vasantha Pai, so that he may be enabled to get affidavits made to his dictation and executed by the said Mr. Harry Kingsley at his orders. The madras office is practically under the advice and supervision of Mr. Pai and its present almost sole activity is the prosecution of various proceedings against me and the other defendants in the manner aforestated. " Sri Vasantha Pai construed this as defamatory as well as an untrue statement, deliberately made by Hariprasad actuated by personal malice, and thereupon he sent a notice to Sri V. V. Raghavan and Sri D. R. Sivagannam, counsel who appeared for Hariprasad in the interlocutory application wherein, after extracting the remarks made about him, he stated:
"i intend proceeding against you in a Court of Law in a suit for defamation and also to bring this to the notice of the Madras State Bar council, unless you unconditionally apologise to me and take steps to have the said paragraph deleted from your client's affidavit WITHIN three DAYS FROM TO-DAY. " The petitioner Hariprasad in his turn, construed this notice as a threat for coercing him and his counsel to withdraw the allegations made by him in the interlocutory application pending before Sadasivam, J. even before that Judge had adjudicated on the application, and therefore, it constituted a direct interference in the course of the administration of justice. Hariprasad went on to allege that the threat had interfered with the peace of his mind, that Sri Vasantha Pai had acquired the reputation of a fighter in sensational cases, besides being a vengeful fighter, that threats from him had therefore extra coercive power, and that timid counsel like those who have appeared for Hariprasad might readily succumb to such threats.
(3.) THE application was filed originally on 2-11-1964 under Order 19 of the original Side Rules, in which event it should have come for disposal before the judge sitting on the Original Side, Sadasivam, J. but the High Court's office returned it stating that it was doubtful if the application would fall under Order 19 of the Original Side Rules, since Sri Vasantha Pai was not a party to the suit in which the contempt was alleged to have been committed. Thereupon the petitioner represented the application stating that he had struck off the reference to Order 19 of the Original Side Rules and prayed that the application might be numbered as one falling under S. 3 of the Contempt of Courts Act. Thereafter, the application seems to have come before a Bench of this Court consisting of one of us (Anantanarayanan J.) and Ramamurthi, J. , who passed an order admitting the application on 10-11-1964 after hearing counsel. They also directed the issue of the notice to the respondent returnable by 24-11-1964.;
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