Upgrad LLM

sc judgment 21.11.12 r k anand

ADVISOR


                                                                  REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1393 OF 2008

R.K. ANAND                                     APPELLANT

                                   VERSUS

REGISTRAR, DELHI HIGH COURT       … RESPONDENT


                                  O R D E R

Aftab Alam, J.

1.    In a proceeding initiated  suo  motu   [registered  as  Writ  Petition
(Criminal) No.796 of 2007], the Delhi High Court found the contemnor  guilty
of suborning the court witness in a criminal trial in which  he  represented
the accused as the senior advocate. The High Court, thus,  held  him  guilty
under clauses (ii) and (iii) of Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts  Act,
1971 and in exercise of the power under Article 215 of the  Constitution  of
India the High Court prohibited him, by way of  punishment,  from  appearing
in the Delhi High Court and the courts subordinate to it  for  a  period  of
four months from the date of the judgment  dated  August  21,  2008  leaving
him,  however,  free  to  carry  on  his  other   professional   work   e.g.
consultations, advices, conferences, opinions etc.  The High  Court  further
held that the contemnor had forfeited  his  right  to  be  designated  as  a
senior advocate and recommended to the full  court  to  divest  him  of  the
honour.  In addition,  the  High  Court  also  imposed  on  him  a  fine  of
Rs.2,000/-.

2.    The contemnor brought  the  matter  to  this  Court  in  appeal  under
Section 19(1) of the Contempt of Courts Act.  This  Court  by  judgment  and
order dated July 29, 2009 (R.K. Anand v. Registrar, Delhi High)[1]  affirmed
the finding of the High Court as to the guilt of the contemnor.  But so  far
as the punishment is concerned, this Court took the view that in  the  facts
and circumstances of the case, the punishment given  to  the  contemnor  was
wholly inadequate.  In paragraphs 272 and 273 of the  judgment,  this  Court
held and observed as follows:-

      “272. The action of the  appellant  in  trying  to  suborn  the  court
      witness in a criminal trial was reprehensible enough but  his  conduct
      before the High Court aggravates the matter  manifold.   He  does  not
      show any remorse for his gross misdemeanour and instead tries to  take
      on the High Court by defying its authority.  We are in agreement  with
      Mr. Salve and Mr. Subramanium that punishment given to him by the High
      Court was wholly inadequate and incommensurate to the  seriousness  of
      his actions and conduct.  We, accordingly, propose to issue  a  notice
      to him for enhancement of punishment.


      273.  We also hold that by his actions and conduct the  appellant  has
      established himself as a person who needs to be  kept  away  from  the
      portals of the court for a longer time.  The  notice  would  therefore
      require him to show cause why the punishment awarded to him should not
      be enhanced as provided under Section 12 of  the  Contempt  of  Courts
      Act.  He would additionally show cause why he should not  be  debarred
      from appearing in courts for a longer period.  The second part of  the
      notice would also cure the defect in the High Court order in debarring
      the appellant from appearing in courts  without  giving  any  specific
      notice in that regard as held in the earlier part of the judgment.”

3.    Accordingly, this Court directed for issuing a notice  of  enhancement
of punishment to him and directing him to file a  show  cause  within  eight
weeks from the date of service of the notice.
4.    In response to the notice issued by the  Court,  the  contemnor  filed
his show cause on January 13, 2010.  In the show cause he  tendered  apology
to the Court and made the  prayer  to  drop  the  proceedings.  There  were,
however, certain statements made in the show cause that  showed  a  lack  of
remorse for the wrong done by him.  When it was pointed out to  the  learned
counsel representing the contemnor, he filed an additional affidavit on  May
4, 2011  accepting  all  the  observations  and  findings  recorded  in  the
judgment of this Court and seeking to withdraw all statements  made  in  the
Court that suggested any lack of contrition on his part.
5.    Here, it may be stated that the hearing of the  case  took  place  for
brief periods after long gaps because we, the three members on  this  Bench,
were sitting  in  different  combinations  and  this  Bench  could  assemble
specially for this matter only when all three of us could get free from  the
regular  combinations.  As  a  result,  the  hearing  was  protracted   till
September  24,  2012  when  the  contemnor  filed  yet  another   additional
affidavit proposing to undertake certain steps in atonement of his guilt.
6.    Paragraph 2 of the affidavit which  enumerates  the  steps  which  the
contemnor wishes to undertake is reproduced below:-
           “2.   That this matter has been pending for quite some time  and
      it has allowed the Deponent to  introspect  and  in  addition  to  the
      unconditional apologies dated January,  2010  and  04.05.2011  already
      tendered by the Deponent  before  this  Hon’ble  Court,  the  Deponent
      voluntarily submits before this Hon’ble Court as under:-


           A.    That the Deponent has decided to donate  a  sum  of  Rs.21
      Lakhs (Rupees Twenty Lakhs (sic.) Only) through cheque  favouring  Bar
      Council of India for establishment of Computer Centre/ Library in  any
      Law College / Institution/University which the Bar  Council  of  India
      may deem fit.  Photostat copy of the Cheque No.010592 dated 20.09.2012
      drawn on UCO Bank, High Court of Delhi, New Delhi in the sum of  Rs.21
      Lakhs (Rupees Twenty One Lakhs Only) favouring Bar  Council  of  India
      along with a copy of covering letter dated 20.09.2012 addressed to the
      Secretary, Bar Council of India is  enclosed  herewith  as  ANNEXURE-A
      (Colly).  The Deponent undertakes to send the cheque  along  with  the
      covering letter to Bar Council of India immediately on passing of  the
      final order by this Hon’ble Court in the present case on 24.09.2012.


           B.    That the Deponent  also  undertakes  before  this  Hon’ble
      Court that the Deponent shall not make any earning out  of  the  legal
      profession by way of Practice/Conference/ Consultation/ Legal Opinion/
      Arbitration etc. in any form whatsoever for a period of  1  year  from
      the date of order on which the apology is  accepted  by  this  Hon’ble
      Court and during this  period  his  services  rendered  as  a  Lawyer/
      appearances, if any will all be pro bono.


           C.    That the Deponent also undertakes to offer his services as
      a lawyer for a period of 1 year as aforesaid for rendering  legal  aid
      to the poor and needy persons and for this purpose his services can be
      utilized by the Delhi Legal Services Authority, Patiala House  Courts/
      Delhi High Court Legal Services Authority, High Court  of  Delhi,  New
      Delhi/ Supreme Court Legal  Services  Authority,  Supreme  Court,  New
      Delhi.”

7.    The offence committed by the contemnor  was  indeed  odious.   In  the
judgment, the gravity of the  offence  committed  by  him  is  discussed  in
detail and it is pointed out that the contemnor’s action  tended  to  strike
at the roots of the administration of  criminal  justice.  We  reaffirm  the
observations and findings made in the earlier judgment.   Further,  we  have
not the slightest doubt  that  normally  the  punishment  for  the  criminal
contempt of the nature committed by  the  contemnor  should  be  a  term  of
imprisonment.
8.    In a judicial  proceeding,  however,  it  is  important  not  to  lose
complete objectivity and that compels us to take note  of  certain  features
of this case. The contemnor is 69  years  old.   His  wife  has  suffered  a
stroke of multiple sclerosis in the year 1992 and she  is  confined  to  the
bed and a wheel chair for  over  20  years.   The  contempt  proceeding  was
initiated against the contemnor in the year 2007  and  he  has,  thus,  been
facing the rigours of the proceeding for five years.
9.     In  the  meanwhile,  the  criminal  trial  from  which  the   present
proceeding arises was concluded by the  trial  court  and  the  accused  was
found guilty under Section 304 Part II of the Penal Code.   In  appeal,  the
High Court converted his conviction to one under Section 304-A of the  Penal
Code.  But, on further appeal by the State to this Court, the conviction  of
the accused was, once again, brought under Section 304 Part II of the  Penal
Code by judgment and order  dated  August  3,  2012.  In  other  words,  the
criminal trial from which the present proceedings arise  has  also  attained
finality.
10.   The aforesaid facts and circumstances persuade us to take  a  slightly
lenient view of the matter.  We feel that no useful purpose will  be  served
by sending the contemnor to jail.  On the contrary, by keeping him  out  and
making him do the things that he has undertaken to do would serve  a  useful
social purpose. We, accordingly, accept the offer made by the contemnor.
11.   In terms of his undertaking, the contemnor shall not do  any  kind  of
professional work charging any fees or for any personal  considerations  for
one year from today.  He shall exclusively devote his professional  services
to help pro bono the accused who, on account of lack of resources,  are  not
in a position to engage any lawyer to defend themselves and  have  no  means
to have their cases effectively presented before the  court.  The  contemnor
shall place his professional services at the disposal  of  the  Delhi  Legal
Services Authority which, in coordination with the Delhi  High  Court  Legal
Services Authority,  will  frame  a  scheme  to  avail  of  the  contemnor’s
services for doing case of undefended accused either at the trial or at  the
appellate stage. The contemnor shall appear in court only in cases  assigned
to him by the Legal Services Authority.
12.   The Delhi Legal Services Authority shall keep  a  record  of  all  the
cases assigned to the  contemnor  and  the  result/progress  made  in  those
cases.  At the end of the year, the Delhi  Legal  Services  Authority  shall
submit a report to this Court in  regard  to  all  the  cases  done  by  the
contemnor at its instance which  shall  be  placed  before  the  Judges  for
perusal.
13.   At the end of one year it will be open to the contemnor to resume  his
private law practice.  But he shall not leave any case assigned  to  him  by
the Legal Services Authority incomplete.  He  shall  continue  to  do  those
cases, free of cost, till they come to a close.
14.   The contemnor shall pay a sum of  Rs.21,00,000/-  (Rupees  Twenty  One
Lakhs) through a demand draft to the Bar Council of India  within  one  week
from today.  The  Bar  Council  shall  give  the  money  to  a  law  college
preferably situated at a muffassil place and  attended  mostly  by  children
from the under-privileged and deprived sections of the society.   The  money
may be used for developing the infrastructure of the college, such as  class
rooms, library, computer facilities or moot court facilities, etc.  The  Bar
Council of India will ensure a proper utilisation of the money.
15.   With the aforesaid observations and  directions,  the  proceedings  of
this case are closed.
16.   The criminal miscellaneous  petition  No.21373  of  2012  also  stands
disposed of.

 

                                        …….. ………………………J.
                                        (G.S. Singhvi)

 

                                        …….. ………………………J.
                                        (Aftab Alam)

 

                                        …….. ………………………J.
                                        (Chandramauli Kr. Prasad)
New Delhi;
November 21, 2012.

-----------------------
[1] (2009) 8 SCC 106

 
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ADVOCATE & DIRECTOR

GOOD INFORMATION

 
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Advocate

thanks for information.

 
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