Decided on December 20,1994


Cited Judgements :-



Baruah, J. - (1.)This appeal under Section 19 (1) (a) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 read with Rule 12 of the Contempt of Courts (Gauhati High Court) Rules, 1977 is directed against the judgment and order dated 8.8.94 passed by learned Single Judge in Civil Original Petition (Contempt) No, 275/93 convicting the appellant and another under the Contempt of Courts Act and sentencing them to undergo one month's imprisonment in addition to a fine of Rs 2,000/-each and in default to undergo further imprisonment for a period of two weeks each. Besides this, the learned Single Judge also directed the appellant and another to pay the cost of the contempt petition which was assessed at Rs. 2,000/-
(2.)The fact of the case for the purpose of this appeal may be stated as follows :- The respondent in this appeal filed a writ petition (Civil Rule No. 795/92) challenging the order dated 24.5.91 issued by the Executive Engineer, Nalbari Division (Irrigation), Nalbari whereby the respondent was reverted to the post of Work charge Khalasi in place of regular Khalasi. After filing of the writ petition, usual notices were issued and received by the then Secretary, Irrigation and also the Chief Engineer. Thereafter, letters were written to the Registrar (Judicial) requesting him to furnish the details of the case to facilitate the Secretary and the Chief Engineer to take appropriate action. Later on, the Secretary received a letter from the Government Advocate Sri B.L. Singh asking for parawise comments. However, no details were received by them. Correspondence went on. On 10.9193 the appellant received a letter from the respondent (writ petitioner) informing about the order dated 1.6.93 passed by this Court in Civil Rule No. 195/92. On receipt of the same appellant also sent a letter dated 14.9.93 addressed to the Chief Engineer, Irrigation, Assam. In the said letter instructions were sought for, for taking necessary action in respect of the order dated 1.6.93 passed by this Court. The appellant informed that since no sanctioned post of Typist was available at Nalbari, it would be difficult on his part to regularise the services of the respondent in the post of typist. Therefore, instruction was necessary. The appellant further stated that the copy of the order dated 1.6.93 issued by the Registry of this Court on 3.9.93 was received by the Office of the Executive Engineer, Nalbari Division on 22.9.93. As the copy of the writ petition was not available with the appellant he wrote a letter to the Assistant Registrar (B) for a copy of the writ petition as full detail was necessary for taking necessary steps for compliance. The appellant also sought necessary instruction from the higher authority for compliance of the order. Only on 2.7.94 a letter from the Chief Engineer, Irrigation, Assam was received by the appellant. By the said letter it was informed that the Secretary, Irrigation desired that the order of this Court should be implemented so as to avoid further complication without referring the matter either to the Government or to the office of the Chief Engineer, Assam. Thereafter, on 2.7.94 the appellant issued office order allowing the respondent to officiate as Khalasi thereby absorbing her in the post in which she had been working prior to the issuance of the order of reversion. The compliance of the order of this Court dated 1.6.93 was duly intimated to the Government Advocate who appeared for and on behalf of the appellant. The appellant filed an affidavit-in-opposition in the contempt proceeding and in paragraph 13 of the said affidavit the appellant had offered unconditional apology for any unintentional lapses on his part. The appellant was under the impression that the order by which the respondent (writ petitioner) was absorbed in the post she had been holding prior to the order of reversion was passed. It was, however, not known whether this fact was brought to the notice of the learned Single Judge before passing of the impugned judgment dated 8.8.94. After considering all the aspects by judgment and order dated 8.8.94 passed in COP (C) No. 275/93 the learned Single Judge found the appellant guilty and convicted him and another under the Contempt of Courts Act read with Article 215 of the Constitution of India and sentenced them as aforesaid. While disposing of the contempt matter the learned Single Judge considered the affidavit-in-opposition filed by the (appellant and also the provisions of law regarding contempt of Court. Being aggrieved by the judgment and order the present appeal has been filed. 2. Heard both sides.
(3.)Mr. A.K. Phukan, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant submitted that the facts and circumstances of the case would indicate that the appellant had no intention to show disrespect to the Court. It would also reveal from the record that non-compliance of the direction was not because of wilful disobedience.

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