PANIGRAHI, J. -
(1.) THESE proceedings incontempt have been initiated at the instance of the petitioner Sri Bijoyananda Patnaik, who is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Messrs. Eastern Mercantile Corporation, Ltd.
Opposite Party 1 is the Editor of an Oriya newspaper called 'Matrubhumi' and opposite party2 is its
printer and publisher. On 14 -6 -1952 the business premises of the petitioner were searched by an Inspector
of the Special Police Establishment, Government of India, Delhi, under a warrant issued by the Additional
District Magistrate, Cuttack, for the recovery of certain documents and letters exchanged between the
petitioners and some overseas suppliers, in respect of a license issued by the Government of India for the
import of bicycles intended for internal consumption within Orissa State. On 21 -6 -52 the petitioner
moved this Court in Original Judicial Case No. 18 of 1952 praying for the issue of a rule on the
Additional District Magistrate and the Inspector, Special Police Establishment, to show cause why the
search should not be declared illegal and why the order of the Additional District Magistrate refusing to
grant him copies of the warrant should not be set aside. On 27 -10 -52 the Court granted one of the prayers
of the applicant and directed that he should be granted copies of certain documents which were, in the
possession of the Additional District Magistrate. The other prayer of the petitioner, however, namely, for a
declaration that the search was illegal was rejected on 2 -12 -1952 by a Bench of this Court.
(2.) IT is alleged that the opposite parties published certain articles in the daily and weekly issues of the Matrubhumi while proceedings were pending in this Court, vilifying the petitioner. These publications, it
is contended, constitute gross contempt of Court. Altogether there were four articles published in the
Matrubhumi two in the daily issues dated 17 -6 -52 and 13 -8 -52 and two in the weekly issues dated
21 -7 -52 and 1 -9 -52. The present petition was presented in Court on 24 -10 -52 and 20 -12 -52; this Court issued a rule nisi to show cause why the opposite parties should not be committed for contempt. These
proceedings would, therefore, appear to be an off -shoot of Original judicial Case No. 18 of 1952 which
had been filed by the petitioner and the impugned articles were published when the initiation of these
proceedings was either imminent or pending in this Court.
The first article dated 17 -6 -52 appeared under the caption, in bold headlines, 'Extensive searches in the town of Cuttack - - Dangerous fraud and Conspiracy about to be unearthed - - Thief's house does not
remain dark always'. Among other matters the article says:
'It is reported that the reason for the search is that company by the name of Eastern Mercantile Corporation was formed under the leadership of Sri Bijoyanand Patnaik, and permits for importing several crores rupees worth of cement, maida, sugar, steel -goods umbrella sticks, screws, cycles, and yarn, were obtained from the Central Government in the names of the members of this Company and illegal profits of lakhs of rupees were made by selling these to several persons outside Orissa. It is alleged that by such action they have cheated the Central Government, the State Government, and the people. Prom the papers it appears that the office of the company is located at Anand Bhawan, Tulsipur, but there does not appear to be any such office in Tulsipur .............. It is rumoured that there have been serious allegations that Sri Patnaik has taken lakhs of rupees from the Government for the development of industries, and has not done anything. It is learnt that the company in whose name import license has been obtained is not an established company, nor is the company assessed to income -tax. It is being seriously investigated as to how crores worth of permits were granted for transactions from the Central Secretariat to a Company consisting of private shareholders. The mysterious manner in which these permits were sold outside, in Madras and Bengal, and lakhs of rupees worth of profits were made, has already been investigated by the Central C. I.D. in those States'.
The article then contains several similar allegations to the effect that fifty bales of yarn were obtained for
dyeing purposes although there is no dyeing factory. It is further alleged that 'permits for maida were
obtained from the central Government but that there was no trace of maida'. The article concludes, with
the statement that 'the Central C. I. D. will systematically investigate every matter and would prefer
charges against some persons'. It will appear from these extracts that the writer has given currency to a
number of rumours that the petitioner had obtained Import licenses for several articles valued at several
crores of rupees although his bouse was searched only for the purpose of recovering an import license
connected with bicycles. The article also alleges that the petitioner bad made illegal profits to the extent
of lakhs of rupees by selling these import licenses in the black market to several persons outside Orissa
State. It is further categorically asserted that there is no office known as Eastern Mercantile Corporation,
(3.) THE second article, dated 21 -7 -52 appeared in the weekly edition of the Matrubhumi and purported to be the re -production of a statement published in another Oriya paper called 'Subrati'. The headline is:
'Mahatab is at the root of all mischief and he should be arrested with his companions at once'. The article then proceeds to say: 'It is a matter of surprise that Bijoyananda Patnaik and others have not been arrested. It is alleged against these people that they floated, fake or fraudulent companies and manoeuvred to obtain from the Central Government permits for lakhs of rupees worth of maicta, cycle, thread, steel and other articles of daily use and made immense money by deals in the black -market. It is known that the name of Bijoyananda Patnaik and Co., is not even known to the Income -tax Department. The Central Government are aware of the detailed activities of these treacherous campaigns .............. IfJawaharlal's Government has actually girded up its loins to stop corruption, then, discarding all pity and compassion they should at once arrest Mahatab, Bijqy and Biren, and they should not at all consider the question of granting bail until the end of the trial'.
The editorial note is as follows:
'Under the leadership of Mahatab those people collected vast wealth in this fashion and swindled lakhs of rupees from kendu leaves dealers and thereby created such an atmosphere of bitterness -in the field of politics during election time that people became perturbed with disgust and hatred. The Land Reyers (sic) which were brought through the swindling and cheating of Bijoynanda were sent to different districts as properties of the Congress' .............. 'Recently sharp attention of the Central Government C. I. D. was focussed on some of the business organizations of Cuttuck. It was rumoured at that time that during Mahatab's time as Industries Minister on the strength of some important permits issued from his Secretariat, lakhs worth of articles were imported and were sold outside in the blackmarket, in Madras andCalcutta. The name of Kalinga Mercantile Corporation was especially mentioned in that connection and the houses of some alleged directors of the Company were searched'. ;