SHAH, J. -
(1.) The contempt proceedings are intiated on the report of Special Mobile Magistrate, Srinagar, who is also empowered to act as a Magistrate under the Electricity Act, Jammu and Kashmir Shops Establishment Act, Hoarding and Profiteering Prevention Ordinance, 2000 Bk, Jammu and Kashmir Tourist Trade Act and the Jammu and Kashmir Excise Act, who is empowered with the powers of Ist Class Judicial Magistrate under the Code of Criminal Procedure. He is also entrusted with the duties to perform tours in connection with his court work, for which he is provided with a vehicle of the State Motor Garages, the maintenance of which is provided by the High Court and the attachment of the said vehicle is completely under the control and supervision of the High Court and the Magistrate concerned to whom it is allotted. The vehicle No. 142-JKC, which was allotted to the Magistrate concerned was stopped by two constables at Ram Bagh Bridge, Srinagar on 28th of Dec., 1985 at about 4 p.m. when the said vehicle was in the duty of the Magistrate who was returning from his tour in the Jeep of Additional Mobile Magistrate and this Vehicle No. 142-JKC was following him, which was occupied by the Court Officer of this court. At about 4. 15 p. m. It is admitted by the contemner that two constables namely, Mohammad Sadiq and Mohammad Assad Ullah brought the log book of Vehicle No. 142-JKC, simultaneously Shri Tariq Ahmad Mirza, the Court Officer also entered in his office and told him that the said log book pertains to vehicle No.142- JKC, which is attached to the Court of Special Mobile Magistrate Passenger Tax, Srinagar. Despite the said information, which was given to him immediately at the moment, the contemner S.P. Vigilance finding faults with the log book detained the vehicle for about 45 minutes and failed to handover the said log book to the Driver and instead retained it with him and handed-over the same to the Deputy Director, State Motor Garages with his communication on Ist of Jan., 1986 under No. 10-11/VOK to the Deputy Director, State Motor Garages. The S.P. Vigilance tried to explain the delay by Saying that 29th of Dec. was Sunday and on 30th and 31st of Dec., 1985, he was exceedingly busy with the preparation of the half yearly report. On account of the withholding of the log book, the said vehicle attached to the Magistrate could not come out of the Garage, as a result of which the Magistrate was prevented from discharging his official duties causing obstruction in the Administration of Justice, as most of the duties of the Court of Special Mobile Magistrate are of a touring nature. It was only on the directions of this court while taking cognizance on the report of the Magistrate vide order dt. Jan. 2, 1986 that the log book of the said Vehicle was directed to be produced before the Deputy Registrar by 3rd of Jan. 1986, in Consequence whereof the Magistrate could resume his working. Hence on the above said basis, notice was issued to the Contemner - S.P. Vigilance to Show cause, which has been replied by him on affidavit.
(2.) From the above narration of facts, it is clearly borne out that the action of the S.P. Vigilance despite bringing the fact to his knowledge at the very moment when the vehicle was stopped and the log book was produced before him that vehicle is attached to the Court of Special Mobile Magistrate, the expenses of which are borne by the High Court and for all purposes the vehicle is under the control and supervision of the High Court and that of the Magistrate concerned. The contemner by his action interfered in the administration of justice and attempted to bring in disrepute the Officer of this Court causing damage to the fair name of the institution. We feel when there is a regular invasion on the rights and dignity of court, it is the duty of the High Court to uphold the dignity of courts and to alert those who deal with Courts that the High Court will relentlessly though not vindictively try to uphold the dignity, no matter who commits contempt. It is the duty of the High Court will protect the dignity of the subordinate court since it looks to the High Court for protection. In their dealings with Courts, the parties should be honest and should never delude the court into any action, which adversely affects the dignity of the court.
(3.) In the background of the above said circumstances, notice was issued to the contemner S.P. Vigilance to show cause. In his reply affidavit the contemner in para 1 categorically submitted as under : -
"At the very outset I state and submit with from utmost respect that I tender unconditional apology before the Hon'ble High Court in Criminal Misc. Petition No. 1/86.'' However, in order to justify his conduct under the cover of Government Circular issued on 18th of November, 1978 vide circular No. I-IR of 1978 and the Government Order issued on 15-12-1982 vide Government Order No. 278-GD of 1982 and lastly the Circular issued on 10-10-1985 under Circular No. 1 (Home) of 1985 dt. 10-10-1985 detailing other circumstances in his reply affidavit, it is stated that under the said Circular Vigilance Organisation has been directed to carry out checking of Government. Vehicles regularly and to take legal action against the defaulters with a further averment : -
"With utmost respect that on the basis of the aforesaid Government orders and Circulars I bonafidely believed that Vigilance Organisation (as been entrusted with the responsibility of checking all the Government vehicles regularly, notwith-standing the fact to whom they are allotted. It appears that it was because of these circulars/Government orders that the constable posted at Rambagh Check post by the regular police, had taken the custody of log book of vehicle No. 142JKC". With the above said averments, coupled with the fact that the contemner despite information by the Court Officer that the said Vehicle is under the control and supervision of the High Court and the Magistrate concerned, he should not have with held the log book causing interference in the working of the court and ultimately affecting the administration of Justice, which action of the contemner Mufti Abdul Gani, S.P. Vigilance, in our opinion amounts to contumacious conduct, which we deprecate and expect that in future the vigilance and the police authorities shall be careful in dealing with the vehicles allotted to the High Court, Magistrates or Judicial Officers, for which if any violation or default is found, the only course open for them is to report the matter to the Registrar of the High Court or to the Vigilance Commissioner (Judicial) and not to interfere in any manner with the independent working of the Judicial Officers. The Circulars are mere guidelines, which are not binding on the vehicles allotted to the High Court or Judicial Officers including Magistrates, the expenses of which are incurred by the High Court, which itself has its own wing of Vigilance to check the violations and punish the defaulters.;