HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
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R.N. Misra, J. -
(1.) THE contemner, as a magistrate exercising first class powers came to be in (sic) of a proceeding under Section 145, Code of Criminal Procedure. On 10 -1 -1969 after hearing parties he reserved judgment in the case. He delivered the final order on 30 -9 -1969 after adjourning the proceeding on 13 dates for judgment. This fact came to the notice of a Single Judge one of us while dealing with a criminal reference under Section 438, Code of Criminal Procedure directed against the final order. Notice was issued against the contemner to show cause why he may not be appropriately dealt with for contempt of his own orders as also of the judicial procedure established by law in this country.
(2.) THE contemner has shown cause and tried to explain as to why during the period intervening between the reserving of judgment and its delivery it was not possible for him to deliver the judgment. He has also tendered unqualified apology. In paragraph 8 it has been indicated that during this period the contemner was ill and was keeping very indifferent health. Often he had to approach doctors for assistance. He has also come forward with the usual explanation offered by the executive magistrates that he was busy attending to administrative duties and in connection with visit of higher officers. It is shocking to our sense of justice that a magistrate in session of judicial proceedings would prefer administrative work and visit of higher officers to rendering judgments in cases which he has heard. By the process which has been adopted in this case not only the confidence in the judiciary is likely to be lost, but the image of the magistracy is also lowered. This ultimately is bound to lower the authority of the Court and affect the administration of justice. In this case the impugned act is prior to the coming into force of, the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, but a well recognised category of contempt of this type has been incorporated in Section 16 of the Act. The unqualified apology which had been tendered in this Court was not acceptable to us and we were inclined to punish the opposite party. The contemner has, however, appeared today to reiterate his sincere apology in the matter and has pleaded that it was his illness which was really responsible for delay in disposal of the case. It was stated to us by his counsel that the opposite party has his senses very much benumbed in the meantime on account of protracted ailment and in realisation of this fact, Government have now withdrawn him to the office of the Revenue Divisional Commissioner where he would have only administrative work to do and would not come in contact with litigants and lawyers. Taking all these facts into consideration and in particular his assurance before us that if at all he is ever called upon again to do magisterial work he would never fail to render judgment in time, we are prepared to take a lenient view of the matter and accept the apology he has already tendered to this Court. The notice of contempt is, therefore, discharged.
B.K. Ray, J.
(3.) I agree.;
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