The Rajasthan High Court at Jodhpur while dealing with a contempt case held that the respondent i.e., the police constable is liable under the Contempt of Courts Act for his unruly behavior during cross-examination in the Trial Court.

The Bench consisting of Justice Vijay Bishnoi and Justice Farjand Ali disposed of the criminal contempt petition registered on the basis of a complaint filed by the Additional District Judge, Gulabpura, and directed –

"As we found that the respondent-contemnor is guilty of unruly behaviour in the trial court and this Court while dealing with the instant contempt petition has devoted its precious time, we deem it appropriate to direct the respondent-contemnor to deposit a sum of Rs.25,000/- with the District Legal Services Authority, Bhilwara within a period of one month from today."

The High Court further held –

"In case, the said amount is not deposited by the respondent-contemnor within the stipulated time, the same shall be reported by the District Legal Services Authority, Bhilwara immediately to this Court. The contempt petition is disposed of accordingly. Notice of contempt issued to the respondent-contemnor is discharged."

Senior Advocate Sandeep Shah appeared for the petitioner and Senior Advocate J.S. Choudhary appeared for the respondent.

Facts of the case –

The respondent was deposing as a witness in a Sessions Case and during his cross-examination, he became agitated and slapped the defence lawyer. It was alleged that by such an act of the respondent, the judicial work was interrupted as well as obstructed.

Due to such an act, the statement of the witness could not be completed and proceedings had to be deferred. It was contented by the respondent that before entering the court, he was threatened and pressurised by the defence lawyer and during the course of the examination, the lawyer constantly tried to influence the respondent to get the desired answers from him.

It was also contended that the lawyer was constantly hitting the respondent's legs and trying to provoke him. The lawyer at the time when there was a power cut, took advantage of the same and kicked the legs of the respondent with force due to which he suffered deep pain and lost his mental equilibrium, and slapped the lawyer.

The respondent was ready to tender his unconditional apology for such an act and requested to drop the contempt proceedings against him. He also submitted that he has filed a complaint under Section 156 (3) Cr.PC against the lawyer in the Court of ACJM, Gulabpura, District Bhilwara but he does not want to press the same now. The respondent belonged to a poor agriculturist family and has been serving in the police department for the last seven years as a constable.

The High Court therefore observed –

"… it is clear that the respondent-contemnor has more or less admitted the fact that he slapped Mr. Kamal Kast, Advocate while he was cross-examining him in Sessions Case No.39/17. Though, the respondent-contemnor has tried to justify his act on the ground that Mr. Kamal Kast, Advocate, by his action made him annoyed and even alleged that he had kicked him due to which, he suffered minor injuries, but the same is not convincing because if the defence lawyer Mr. Kamal Kast had kicked or injured him in any manner, he could very well complain about the same to the Presiding Officer at the very moment. The defence submitted by the respondent-contemnor, therefore, seems to be an afterthought."

The Court further observed –

"Any attempt on the part of a person to obstruct in the process of administration of justice and any attempt to scandalise the court or any attempt to interfere with due course of judicial proceedings is required to be dealt with all strictness."

The Court while relying upon the case of Rajeshwar Singh v. Amit Kalyan & Anr (2014) 2 RLW (Raj.) 1077 stated –

"… we are of the opinion that unconditional apology tendered by the respondent-contemnor can be treated as bonafide and keeping in view the fact that at the time of incident, the respondent-contemnor was having service period of around seven years only and he was appearing as a witness in the court for the first time, we are of the opinion that the unconditional apology tendered by the respondent-contemnor is liable to be accepted. The respondent-contemnor is a young person having two minor children and looking to the background of his family, a lenient view is taken in the matter."

Accordingly, the Court directed the respondent to pay the amount and the contempt petition was disposed of.

Cause Title – ADJ, Gulabpura, Bhilwara v. Rameshchandra

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