COURT ON BEHALF OF STATE Vs. PUBLISHER, PURSHARTHI GAZETTE, ROHTAK
HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
COURT ON BEHALF OF STATE
PUBLISHER, PURSHARTHI GAZETTE, ROHTAK
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(1.) This is a rule issued against the opposite party to show cause why he should not be prosecuted and convicted for contempt of Court.
(2.) The opposite party Mohindar Lal Wadhwa is an editor of a newspaper called 'Pursharthi Gazette' which is published from Rohtak. In the issue of the 6th of January under the heading 'Adalti Insaf Ka Namoona' the opposite party published a most scurrilous attack on the Senior Subordinate Judge, Rohtak. In the first portion of this article he has complained that there is discrimination between those persons who have come from what is now Pakistan those who are the original inhabitants of the present Punjab. In this article it is stated that the refugee and non-refugee officers "are also prone to the influence of discrimination between refugees and non-refugees". It is then stated that the tenants of Bakhshi Market were being charged Rs. 80 as rent which has gradually been reduced to Rs. 30 and yet it was in excess of what was the rent of the neighbouring shops. The following passage may well be quoted here-
"Consequently, the refugee tenants who are drapers filed a suit in the Court of the Senior Sub Judge, under the Rent Control (Act) and cited examples to show that the rent of the neighbouring shops did not, in any case exceed Rs. 10/12- (per mensem). The owner of the shop was willing to accept Rs. 15 as rent of each of shop but the Senior Sub Judge fixed Rs. 22 per shop per mensem. None of the shops on the neighouring Railway Road and market fetches so much rent. The refugees continued raising protest but nobody cared a two pence for them. Though the market is very dull yet this hardship was done to them. Several rumours have been set afloat in this connection. Some people say that a sum of Rs. 1,000 was given as illegal gratification whereas others put it at a larger or smaller amount. God forbid, such rumours turn out as true ! but indications suggest that the is definitely something wrong at the bottom inasmuch as the officer, aforesaid, is given to drinking. Only an officer earning a substantial income can afford to spend so much during these days of high prices coupled with the fact that Rohtak is a district where prohibition has been introduced. It is said that when the said officer was told that several rumours about the episode in question were circulating in the city he replied that he was on the verge of retirement and that nobody could do him any harm. This is a glaring instance of excessive boldness and injustice which face the refugees these days. Not only that ex parte proceedings were taken by the Senior Sub Judge in the presence of the applicant although the tenant was present outside the Court room and the applicant went inside the Court room at 12-30 p.m. on that very day and raised a protest saying that ex parte proceedings had been taken against him when he was present. Such orders were passed simply to get the shop vacated. Will any local brother of ours raise his voice against this injustice ?"
(3.) The law in regard to contempt has been laid down by the Supreme Court in Bathina Ramakrishana Reddy v. The State of Madras,1952 SCA 312., . where it was held that when the Act of defamining a Judge is calculated to obstruct or interfere with the due course of justice or proper administration of law, it would certainly amount to contempt. Their Lordships quoted with approval the opinion of Willmot, C.J., in Willmot's opinions, page 256, Rex v. Davies at page 40-41, where the learned Chief Justice said as follows-
"Attacks upon the judges excite in the minds of the people a general dissatisfaction with all judicial determinations..... and whenever man's allegiance to the laws is so fundamentally shaken it is the most fatal and dangerous obstruction of justice and in my opinion calls out for a more rapid and immediate redress than any other obstruction whatsoever; not for the sake of the judges as private individuals but because they are the channels by which the King's justice is conveyed to the people.";
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