TVASANTHA LAKSHMI Vs. Y RAVINDRA NAIK PRINCIPAL APSWR SCHOOL B KOTHAKOTA CHITTOOR
LAWS(APH)-1992-3-76
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
Decided on March 20,1992

TVASANTHA LAKSHMI Appellant
VERSUS
Y.RAVINDRA NAIK, PRINCIPAL APSWR SCHOOL B.KOTHAKOTA CHITTOOR DT. Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

KULDIP NARAIN LAI VS MAHENDRA PAL JAIN [REFERRED TO]
KISHAN SWARUP VS. R P PANDHI [REFERRED TO]
D N TANEJA VS. BHAJAN LAL [REFERRED TO]



Cited Judgements :-

J L N SASTRY VS. A P V N SARMA [LAWS(APH)-1996-10-118] [REFERRED TO]
KAMARUDJAMA MD VS. E RAMESH [LAWS(APH)-1998-12-75] [REFERRED TO]
MOHAMMAD KAMARUDJAMA MANDAL REVENUE OFFICER HANUMAKONDA VS. ELABOINA RAMESH [LAWS(APH)-1998-12-44] [REFERRED TO]
THE PROJECT MANAGER VS. K.O. POULOSE [LAWS(KER)-2014-10-256] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

- (1.)This appeal is against the order of the learned Single Judge dismissing the appellant's contempt case against the respondents. It is needless to go into the merits because the impugned order or decision not being one in the exercise of High Court's jurisdiction to punish for contempt this appeal therefrom is itself. in our view not maintainable.
(2.)Tracing briefly the law on contempt, the first comprehensive legislation thereon was the Contempt of Courts Act, 1926. It was repealed and replaced by the Contempt of Courts Act, 1952. It was however generally felt that though statutory jurisdiction under the Contempt of Courts Act to punish for contempt had impact on two important fundamental rights, namely personal liberty and freedom of speech, the law on the subject was not satisfactory and needed to be reviewed. It also suffered a vital lacuna viz., absence of appeal even though the contemnor was punished. A Committeethe Sanyal Committee was thereupon appointed in 1961 under the Chairmanship of the then Addl. Solicitor General, H N Sanyal. Its report contained a comprehensive review of the subject. It took note inter alia, of the importance of the right of freedom of speech and, at the same time the need for protecting the majesty of the Courts and the interests of the administration of justice. Considering this report and the views thereon of various authorities, the Central Government introduced in Parliament a Bill which was ultimately enacted as the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 (for short "the said Act"). The High Court's plenary powers under Article 215 of the Constitution to punish for contempt continues. It is neither taken away nor curtailed. Section 19 of the said Act dealing with appeal is as under,
"

(1) An appeal shall lie as of right from any order or decision of High Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction to punish for contempt. (a) Where the order or decision is that of a single Judge, to a Bench of not less than two Judges of the Court ; (b) Where the order or decision is that of a Bench, to the Supreme Court : Provided that where the order or decision is that of the Court of the Judicial Commissioner in any Union Territory such appeal shall lie to the Supeme Court.

(2) Pending any appeal, the Appellate Court may order that (a) the execution of the punishment or order appealed against be suspended : (b) if the appellant is in confinement, he be released on bail; and (c) the appeal be heard notwithstanding that the appellant has not purged his contempt.

(3) Where any person aggrieved by any order against which an appeal may be filed satisfies the High Court that he intends to prefer an appeal, the High Court may also exercise all or any of the powers conferred by sub-section (2).

(4) An appeal under sub-section (1) shall be filed (a) in the case of an appeal to a Bench of the High Court, within thirty days ; (b) in the case of an appeal to the Supreme Court within sixty days, from the date of the order appealed against."

(3.)Thus an appeal shall lie as of right only from any order or decision of the High Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction to punish for contempt. An appeal thus lies only when (a) the jurisdiction to punish for contempt is exercised and (b) the contemnor is punished. No appeal is provided against any order or decision which does not punish for con'empt. Appeal does not lie when the High Court refuses to take action in contempt i e. refuses to exercise its jurisdiction to punish for contempt. Section 19 does not provide an appeal where either contempt action is not initiated or where the contemnor is discharged after notice. In other words there is no appeal against discharge or acquittal. Appeal lies only against conviction. See in this regard the Division Bench ruling of the Allahabad High Court in Kuldip Narain Lal Vs. Mahendra Pal Jain (1984 Criminal Law Journal 1243); as also the subsequent Division Bench ruling of the same High Court in Kishan Swarup Vs. R P Pandhi (1988 Allahabad Law Journal 398), The controversy stands settled by virtue of the Supreme Court ruling in D N Taneja Vs. Bbajan Lal (1988)-3 Supreme Court Cases 26.
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