Decided on April 08,1988

M.B. Ahuja and Another Respondents


D.C.GHEEWALA, J. - (1.)The two opponents were issued notice to show cause as to why they should not be held guilty of contempt of Court. This arose out of an episode which took place on 31-12-1986 when allegedly the two opponents alongwith other friends of theirs, who were practising advocates prevented one advocate Miss J.C. Bhatt from entering the Court of our learned brothers A.P. Ravani and M.B. Shah, JJ. The persuasive methods employed by the opponents were such that advocate Miss Bhatt felt that she was by means of force prevented from attending the Court. However, her statement indicates that she was not prevented, but she was dissuaded from attending a particular Court as the opponents wanted that all the members of the Bar should put up a united front and show solidarity amongst themselves when a course of action was decided upon by the Bar Association. We are not here at all concerned with the justifiability of that course of action, but the only question which remains to be decided by us is as to whether from the statements which are now on record, can it be said that the acts allegedly perpetrated by the opponents were such which might in any way obstruct the course of justice or bring the administration of justice to disruption. We are not to be understood as having complemented their acts or in any way approved thereof, but the question which is posed before us is only this as to whether these acts can be said to have been contumacious or such that they might obstruct the due course of justice.
(2.)The affidavits which have been filed by these two opponents also in a way bear out the statements of Advocate Miss J.C. Bhatt and her client Nazir Ahmed and there does not appear to be any truth in the averment that any force was used. A forceful persuasion cannot be equated with using of force. A strong persuasive method may appear to be containing an element of threat, but it actually may not be so and therefore it cannot be said that the opponents were guilty of any act which might directly or indirectly obstruct the course of justice. The notice was issued by a Division Bench of this Court on the report submitted by the Registrar (the administrative officer of this Court) and after perusing the affidavits and hearing the learned advocatses appearing for both the sides, we feel that the alleged conduct would not amount to contempt of Court.
(3.)The entire episode seems to have been little unfortunate and it appears that though the opponents did not intend to obstruct the course of justice on account of the agitated times which were prevailing then, persuasion was construed as prevention. The whole episode was very unsavoury and the opponents in their affidavits have also stated that they never intended to commit any contempt.

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