DIWAN CHAND CHAUDHRY Vs. K. NARENDER
HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
Diwan Chand Chaudhry
Click here to view full judgement.
Harnam Singh, J. -
(1.) IN this case notice was issued to Shri K. Narender to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt of Court on the petition of Chaudhry Dewan Chand. President District Congress Committee, Simla. Shri K. Narender is the editor, printer and publisher of Partap Newspaper, Delhi. On the report of Dr. N. L. Verma, Dentist of Simla the Simla Police registered a case under s. 406, Penal Code, against Chaudhry Diwan Chand petitioner and his son Shri Narender Nath. The report was made on 27th June 1949, and Shri Narender Nath was arrested at Kalka on the same day. In the investigation of that case the police raided the Local Congress Office and from there took into possession certain documents. The police also searched the house of Chaudhry Dewan Chand in village Dhilwan, Hosharpur District. After having completed the investigation the police recommended to the District Magistrate, Simla, that the report made by Dr. N. L. Verma was false, with the result that the case against Chaudhry Diwan Chand and Shri Narender Nath was dropped and a complaint under Ss. 182 and 211, Penal Code, was instituted against Dr N. L. Verma.
(2.) THE case states that during the pendency of the investigation Shri K. Narendra respondent published articles in the Partap newspaper on 1st July 1949. 17th July 1949, 20th July 1949 and 6th May 1950 which amount to contempt of Court. Mr. Harbans Singh Guiral, learned counsel for the petitioner, frankly concedes that there is nothing in the news -item appearing in the Partap newspaper of 1st July 1949, which comes within the law of contempt. Then the news -item appearing in the Partap newspaper of 20th of July 1949 reproduces the report made by Mr. Balwant Singh Under Secretary Rehabilitation Department Punjab State with regard to the inspection of Evacuee Property Accounts maintained by the Assistant Custodian, Simla. Mr. H S. Gujral, however, urges that the words "It can, therefore, be asked whether these articles were also taken for ruined refugees" refer to the embezzlement case against Choudhry Diwan Chand initiated on the report of D. N. L. Verma and tend to prejudice mankind against Chaudhry Diwan Chand and Shri Narander Nath, Shri K. Narendra, however, has placed on the record of this case a copy certified to be true, of the report made by Mr. Balwant Singh, Under Secretary, Rehabilitation Department, Punjab States, Paragraph NO. 1 of that report reads:
A large number of articles, (vide list A enclosed) were given free to Chaudhry Diwan Chand, President, City Congress Committee, Simla (Reference p 104 of file 4 -1) Even an assessment of their value was not made. In the past whenever evacuee property was delivered to Chaudhry Divan Chand for distribution to refugees its value had always been assessed by the Assistant Custodian. The list contains items such as Silken clothes 79, tiffin carriers 3, a small carpet etc. It is questionable whether these articles are meant for destitute refugees
The news -item dated 20th July 1949 is textually the same as para 1 of the report of Mr Balwant Singh and on a fair reading of this news item, I am definite that nothing that is said in this news item tends to prejudice humanity against Chaudhry Diwan Chand.
But in the news -item appearing in the Partap newspaper on 6th May 1950, Dr. N. L. Verma is described as 'Shahid Congress Leader' and it is said that this publication was deliberately designed to create an atmosphere of sympathy for Dr. N L. Verma and to mobilise public opinion in his favour. Shri K. Narendra in the written statement filed by him in this Court stated that he was not before aware of the offending publication; that it was inserted in the ordinary course of business as a news item, that he had no interest in the action against Dr. N. L. Verma and that the words "Shahid Congress Leader" were not used by the writer with any idea of prejudicing the trial. Indeed, Shri K. Narendra maintains in the written statement that the word "Shahid" is a misprint for the word ' Mash -hoor" used in the body of the news -item.
(3.) APPLYING , however, the test laid down by Lord Hardwicke in Roack v. Garven,, (1742) 26 E. R. 683 (2 AT K 469) I entertain no doubt that the words "Shahid Congress leader" used in the heading of the news item amount to a contempt of Court. In that case Lord Hardwicke said :
There are three different sorts of contempt. One kind of contempt is scandalising the Court itself. Any act done or writing published calculated to bring a Court or a Judge of the Court into contempt or to lower his authority is a contempt of Court. There may be, likewise, a contempt of Court in abusing parties who are concerned in causes there. Further, there may be also a contempt of Court in prejudicing mankind against persons before the cause is heard.;
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.