IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATKA AT
DATED THIS THE 19TH DAY OF JANUARY 2001
THE HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE H.N. NARAYAN
THE HON'BLE MRS. JUSTICE MANJULA CHELLUR
CCC (CRL.) NO. 22 OF 2000
Mr. Digvijay Mote,
S/o Ramachandra Mote,
Aged about 45 years,
No.6, 5th Cross, Rose Garden,
Neelasandra, Bangalore 560 047. ..Complainant
(By Party in person)
(1) Mr. M.B. Prakash, IAS., Secretary to Govt. of Karnataka, Department of Home & Transport, Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore _ 560 001.
(2) Mr. C. Dinakar, IPS., Director General & Inspector General of Police in Karnataka, Nrupathunga Road,
(3) Mr. Joy De'souza, Circle, Inspector (Traffic) Ashoka Nagar Circle, Bangalore-560 047.
(4) Mr. M.H. Annayyanavar, Metropolitan Magistrate of Traffic Court-I, Mayo Hall, M.G.Road, Bangalore- 560 001. . Contemners
(By Sri Mohan Shanthana Goudar SPP)
This CCC(Crl.) is filed under Article 141 of the Constitution of India r/w Supreme Court Crl. L.J. 743 r/w Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 r/w Supreme Court Judgment JT 1997 SC 610 = 1997 Crl. L.J. 743r/w Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 r/w Articles 226 and 227 by the party in person praying to call for the records of the case in C.C. No. 21762 of 2000 on the file of Contemner No. 4 etc.,
This case having been reserved, JUSTICE NARAYAN made the following:
O R D E R
This Contempt petition purported to be one under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 ("the Act" for short) is filed by one Mr. Digvijay Mote as a public interest litigation alleging that contemners 1 to 4 viz., the Secretary to Government of Karnataka, Department of Home and Transport; the Director General and Inspector General of Police in Karnataka, the Circle Inspector (Traffic) Ashoka Nagar Circle and Metropolitan Magistrate of Traffic Court-I, Mayo Hall, Bangalore, by their names who were the successors of respective predecessors' office in W.P. ( Crl) 539 of 1986 filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India which came to be disposed of along with companion matters before the Supreme Court in D.K. BASU VS. STATE OF WEST BENGAL dt. 18-12-1996 reported in AIR 1997 S.C. 610 = 1997 Crl. L.J. 743 =JT 1997 (1) S.C.1 have committed contempt of Supreme Court. After prolonged preamble to this case drawing the attention of the Court the law declared by the Supreme Court which is binding on all the courts in the country under Article 141 of the Constitution of India, the human rights violation in the country, duty of the contemners in giving effect to the legal law declared by the Supreme Court in the case cited supra, he has specifically made the following allegations of contempt against the contmeners 1 to 4 .
(1) They have acted willfully, contemptuously in violation of directions 1 to 8 and 10 issued by the Supreme Court and conspired to disrespect the Majesty of Supreme Court and continued to defeat its directions; have coerced the judicial proceedings; by their willful misdemeanors actions amongst others have attempted to create a sense of destruct in Rule of Law, Majesty of Supreme Court and High Court in the mind of not only this complainant but also public in general;
(2) Contemners 1, 2 and 4 jointly and severally failed to notify in accordance with Para 40 of the judgment of the Supreme Court JT 1997(1) S.C.1 of the Directions in kind of eleven requirements to be notified in all police stations of state of Karnataka and more so in Ashok Nagar (Traffic) police station;
(3) Contemner 3 failed to respect the said judgment despite the complainant offhand informing him of his rights nor allowed to phone his family nor allowed to avail service of Advocate and carried on investigations and interrogations; prepared and filed FIR, complaint etc., in contempt of supreme Court judgment;
(4) Contemner 3 forced the complainant to sign on Blank notice/summons and failed to issue copy of any of such signed documents including FIR, charge sheet etc.,
(5) Contemner 3 despite notifying him and his office by the complainant on 16th by letter, failed to provide with copies of all requisite documents till date mentioned therein including him alarming him not to coerce court proceedings and also bringing to his notice that such acts of him amounts to Contempt of Court etc., nor even after having Honda, till date nor has he informed under which of the provisions of law vehicle is seized;
(6) Despite complainant having produced all original vehicle documents on 16-8-2000to contemner 3 and to contemner 4 in his court on 19th August both have not allowed him to collect his Hero Honda;
(7) The contemner 4 without verifying whether the investigation, FIR, complaint filed against him by contemner 3 are in accordance with Supreme Court directions took cognizance of the alleged complaint on the very day of filling of complaint;
(8) Contemner 4 without even show causing him of the complaint lodged against him by summons along with the FIR charge sheet etc., on contravention of Law and Supreme Court order suo moto issued NBW on the 16th itself the very day of the complaint lodged in court;
(9) Contemner 4 despite bringing to him by written application by complainant allowed the contemener 3 to keep the Hero Honda illegally by which act is nothing but a conspiracy intended to coercively force the complainant plead quilty;
(10) Contmeners 3 and 4 entered into a tacit compromised understanding/conspiracy that if the case is adjourned by longer/unusual time on month complainant may be coerced to plead quilty;
(11) Despite bringing to notice of contemner 4 including copy of eleven directions on 24th August continued willfully the contempt of Supreme Court.
(2) The backdrop of this complaint can be found from the following facts;
The 3rd contemner who was working as circle Inspector of police, Ashok Nagar, Bangalore, while on duty on 15-8-2000 at about 7.35 p.m. noticed the complainant driving a two wheeler Hero Honda bearing Registration No. KA o2 E 3989 dangerously and in a drunken condition on a public way and whn checked the complainant filed to produce Diving Licence on demand at the spot. He therefore took the complainant to the Bowring Hospital, Bangalore for medical examination and produced him before the duty doctor who issued a medical certificate and the out patient chit No. 20/2000 dt. 15-8-2000 certifying that the complainant consumed alcohol but not intoxicated at the time of examination. The 3rd contemner thereafter filed a charge sheet before the jurisdictional court viz., the 4th contemner on 16-8-2000. The petty charge sheet was put up for hearing on 16-8-2000. The petty charge sheet was put up for hearing on 24-8-2000 on the move made by th ecomplainant and issued notice to the 3rd contemner to be present before the court on the next date of hearing. The case stood adjourned to 26-9-2000. On that day, the accused complainant remained absent and the Traffic Magistrate issued NBW. On the same day, the accused presented on application under Section 70(2) Cr. P.C. to recall the warrant. He was enlarged on personal bond of Rs. 5,000/-with condition to deposit cash security of Rs.1000/- or solvent surety for Rs. 5,000/-. In the meantime, the complainant made two repeated petitions to the Acting Chief Justice by name and also Justice M.F. Saldanha, the Hon'ble Judge of this Court craving their indulgence to take action against the contemners. Since no action was taken in pursuance of those petitions darted by the complainant to their Lordships, he filed this complaint before this Court on 26-9-2000.
(3) Initially the office raised certain objections and the Bench in its order dt.29-9-2000 directed the complainant to comply with the office objections by 27-10-2000. on the move made by the complainant, to comply with the office objections by 23-10-2000 as the regular Criminal Bench was not sitting on that day and the Bench ordered the learned Government Advocate to take notice for respondents and directed the complainant to serve the copy of the complaint on the Government Advocate. When the matter came up again on 25-10-2000, certain allegations were made by the complainant that despite an application being filed by him the jurisdictional Magistrate has not passed any order regarding release of the vehicle and the Bench called for records of the trial court in C.C. 21762 of 2000. on 7-11-2000 when the matter was listed before us, the learned Additional SPP who appeared for contemners prayed short time to file objections. Thereafter we heard the arguments.
(4) The complainant who appeared in person initially contended that the notice ordered by the Bench on 23-10-2000 is in violation of (contrary to) Rule 8 (ii) of the High Court of Karnataka (Contempt of Court Proceedings) Rules, 1981 and written argument was submitted to take cognizance of the following issues into consideration before passing the order viz., the Court issuing notice in any other mode than prescribed by law including issuing notice through State Public Prosecutor or Advocate General are contrary to law. Giving any special privilege to such accused shall only encourage to them and other servants scope to breed further contempt for Law unabatedly. Rule 9 further provide that in every case of Criminal Contempt, the accused shall appear in person before the High Court, on the first date of hearing and on every subsequent date to which the case is posted, unless exempted by an order of the court and he therefore requested this court to issue notice to the contemners 1 to 4 From No.1 as per Rule 8(ii)(b) to file their counters.
(5) There is some merit in this contention. Section 17(1) of the Act provides that notice of every proceeding under Section 15 shall be served personally on the person charged, unless the court for reasons to be recorded directs otherwise. As per S.17(2) of the Act, the notice shall be accompanied, - (a) in the case of proceedings commenced on a motion, by a copy of the motion as also copies of the affidavits, if any, on which such motion is founded; and (b) in the case of proceedings commenced on a reference by a subordinate court, by a copy of the reference. This is the procedure to be followed by the court if the court takes cognizance of the Criminal contempt other than the contempt referred to in section 15 of the Act.
(6) The order dt. 23-10-2000 does not indicate that the court has taken cognizance of the Criminal Contempt presented by the complainant and initiated action against the contemners. What we noticed from the order dt.25-10-2000 is that certain complaints are made before the court for non releasing of the complainant's vehicle and that the court called for trial court records. To that extent we uphold the contention canvassed by the complainant for our consideration.
(7) The next question is whether this court is required to initiate action against the contemners for the alleged violation of the judgment of the Supreme Court. Though the complainant has presented a petition in public interest making certain issues of public importance, it turned out to be a personal complainant against these contemners.
(8) The learned Additional SPP has filed statement of objections on behalf of contemners 1 to 3. We will consider the allegations made against contemner 4 at a later stage.
(9) The 3rd contemner filed counter affidavit explaining his conduct while taking action for contravention of Motor Vehicles Act, riding the vehicle under the influence of alcohol etc., and the procedure followed by him while taking him to hospital and filing a charge sheet against him. According to him he has filed the charge sheet in discharge of his official duties and has not violated any law of the land including the direction of the Supreme Court.
(9) The learned Additional SPP filed statement of objections of contemners 1 and 2 separately with an affidavit of Under Secretary to Government, Home and Transport Department and produced a copy of the circular 4-2-1997 issued by the Government and Xerox copies of the publication of the Supreme Court direction under Caption code of arrest and detention. It was submitted before us that the Government has followed the directions issued by the Apex Court in D.K. BASU's case and at any time not violated any one of the directions and disputed the contentions raised by this complainant as the legations are personal in nature. The learned SPP drew our attention to the copy of the charge sheet filed in the year 1999 against the complainant by Indiranagar police, Bangalore, in C.C.8349 of 1999 on the file of the Magistrate, Bangalore, alleging offences punishable under Sections 185 and 177 of the I.M.V.Act. In that case the accused engaged an Advocate who made an application to discharge the accused on the ground of medical certificate issued by the doctor who examined the accused, had not certified that the alcohol consumed by him exceeds 30% mg. Per 100 ml. of blood detected. The present charge sheet filed by the 3rd contemner against the complainant is also similar in nature. However, it is for the court to pass appropriate order after hearing the accused and the SPP.
(10) The question arises at this stage for our consideration is whether there is a prima facie material for initiating contempt action against the contemners - respondents.
(11) The complainant has made serious allegations against the 4th contemner _ Traffic Magistrate, Mayo Hall, Bangalore, alleging that on tacit understanding between the 3rd contemner and himself, while issuing NBW against him and refusing to release his vehicle. So far as the first allegation is concerned, we find from the order sheet of the court that he voluntarily present before the court before summons were actually served upon him and when the case was adjourned to a later date, he remained absent. It is in that background, the Magistrate issued NBW to the accused which was subsequently recalled and he was enlarged on bail. Therefore, the complainant can not have any grievance against the 4th contemner who passed the order in discharge of his judicial functions. Insofar as the release of the vehicle is concerned, the trial court records do not indicate any such order as records have been submitted to this court in pursuance of its direction. Therefore, absolutely, we find no material to infer that the 4th contemner has committed contempt of either of this court of Apex Court. There is no violation of law at all. Therefore, the complaint against 4th contemner is liable to be rejected.
(12) Insofar as contemners 1 and 2 are concerned, the specific allegations against them are that they failed to implement the Supreme Court Judgment by issue of circulars, publications, advertisements etc., and these allegations are countered by the learned SPP by producing the copy of circular issued by the Government to all the concerned Departments of the Government to give effect to the Supreme Court directions. He have also produced the copy of such circular and the publication made in the State of Karnataka. The complainant further suggested that the state of Karnataka should have published through electronic media also. This contention is again countered by stating that the supreme court judgment was advertised in radio, T.V. and other media.
(13) The main grievance of the complainant is against the 3rd contemener 6.I of police who was working at that time as Traffic Inspector, Ashok Nagar police Station. It was he who charge sheeted him before the Traffic Magistrate. According to the complainant, this Inspector failed to follow the directions of the Supreme Court viz., that immediately after arrest he was not asked to contact his relatives or his Advocate and he was not treated properly and that he was detained in custody unnecessarily and thereby curtailed his liberty which is preciously guaranteed under the Article 21 of the Constitution of India and that a false charge sheet was submitted against him and the vehicle belonging to him was detained without producing before the court for necessary orders and there was illegal custody of his vehicle. We do not propose to dispose of the last contention for the reason that the matter is still pending before the Magistrate and the order of the Magistrate is not available to us. Insofar as the other allegations are concerned, the 3rd contemner has filed counter affidavit denying and disputing all the allegations made against him. Therefore, prima facie it is difficult for us to accept the contentions raised before the court to initiate action against 3rd contemener also. The complainant has not doubt raised certain larger questions of some public importance in his personal petition though styled as public interest litigation and called upon we uphold the liberty of the citizen. In his prayer column he has also requested this court by way of ad interim prayer to take cognizance of this petition and also to stay all proceedings in C.C. 21762 of 2000 on the file of the 4th contemner. He also requested us to invoke the powers of this court under Article 226 of the constitution of India. We have already referred to the previous charge sheet submitted by Indiranagar police against the complainant making similar charges. The learned Magistrate before who the charge sheet was filed chose to discharge him holding that the essential ingredients of those Sections of M.V. Act are not found prima facie. Similar is the charge against the complainant in the present case. We therefore, in exercise of our inherent powers under Section 482 Cr. P.C. r/w Article 226 of the Constitution of India in order to advance substantial justice to the complainant and secure ends of justice, we purpose to quash the pending criminal case against him. It does not debar us from providing this relief to the complainant in this petition as the complainant himself has stated in his complaint more than once that he is anew to law and court proceedings.