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Section 13 in the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971
Article 215 in The Constitution Of India 1949
Surjit Singh & Ors vs Balbir Singh on 29 February, 1996
the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971
Section 20 in the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971

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Andhra High Court
The District B.C. Mahila Welfare ... vs Sri Samuel Principal Secretary Of ... on 22 October, 2007
Equivalent citations: 2008 (2) ALD 225
Author: P Narayana
Bench: P Narayana

ORDER

P.S. Narayana, J.

1. Heard Sri Palle Nageshwar Rao, the Counsel representing the petitioner in C.C. No. 678/2006, the learned Advocate General, Sri T. Ramesh Babu representing Sri B. Adinarayana Rao, Sri Rupendra Waghre representing Sri D.V. Seetarama Murthy.

2. C.C. No. 678/2006 is filed by the District B.C. Mahila Welfare Association, Nalgonda, represented by its President - Bangaru Nagamani complaining the willful and deliberate disobedience of the orders made in W.P.M.P. No. 17027/2006 in W.P. No. 13680/2006 dt. 11-7-2006. Suo Motu C.C. No. 985/2006 had been initiated by this Court by issuing show cause notice to Vijayanand, District Election Authority and District Collector, Nalgonda District and K.N. Kristappa, Deputy District Election Authority and The Revenue Divisional Officer, Bhongir, Nalgonda District. Since both these matters arise in relation to a common order, both these matters are being disposed of by this common order.

3. District B.C. Mahila Welfare Association, Nalgonda, represented by its President - Bangaru Nagamani in the affidavit filed in support of the Contempt Case had averred that the petitioner Association filed the W.P. No. 13680/2006 for issuance of a Writ of Mandamus to declare the action of the respondents in not taking any steps on the representation submitted by the petitioner dt. 18-6-2006 and proposing to issue the notification for conduct of Gram Panchayat Elections in respect of. Kodad Mandal, without rectifying the grave irregularities committed while sending the proposals, as wholly illegal, improper, arbitrary, unconstitutional and consequently direct the respondents to forthwith follow the Rule of Reservation and allot 9 Gram Panchayats as per the proportionate voters of the B.C. in Kodad Mandal, Nalgonda District, and further sought the interim relief to grant stay of issuance of the Gram Panchayat Election Notification in respect of Kodad Mandal, till an approporiate action is taken on the representation dt. 18-6-2006 submitted by the petitioner. It is also averred in para 3 of the affidavit that this Court, after careful consideration of the facts and circumstances and after hearing both sides, was pleased to dispose of the W.P.M.P. along with batch of Misc. Petitions on 11-7-2006 with the following Order: These W.P.M.P.s are disposed of with a direction to review the reservations of Gram Panchayats in relation to the respective Mandals i.e., Kodad Mandal, Nalgonda District, Bibinagar Mandal, Nalgonda District, C.K. Dinne Mandal, Kadapa District, Guntur Rural Mandal, Guntur District, Ghatkesar Mandal in Ranga Reddy District and after completing the said exercise, liberty is given to the respondents to further proceed in relation to the Gram Panchayat elections of the said Gram Panchayats.

4. Further it is averred that on 14-7-2006 the copy of the order was received by our Counsel at 10.00 p.m., immediately thereafter the copy of the said order was communicated to the 3rd respondent on the same day i.e., 14-7-2006 at about 11.00 p.m. Subsequently, on 15-7-2007 at about 9.00 a.m., the copy was communicated to the other respondents who had acknowledged the receipt of the same. It is also stated that to their utter surprise and dismay, the respondent authorities inspite of receipt of the said order copy, received the nominations insofar as Kodad Mandal of Nalgonda District is concerned. It is also stated that the acts of the respondents are contumacious and the respondents being the authorities representing the State are duty bound to honour and implement the orders passed by the Courts, but in the instant case, inspite of receipt of the said order and having the knowledge of the directions given by this Hon'ble Court in a batch of Writ Petitions, willfully and deliberately flouted the same and accepted the nominations of the candidates without completing the exercise of reviewing the reservations of Gram Panchayats and it is also stated that thus the respondents have rendered themselves liable for punishment under the provisions of Contempt of Courts and at this stage if the respondents herein are allowed to proceed further with the acceptance of the nominations, the purpose of the order passed by this Hon'ble Court will be defeated. Thus specific stand had been taken that there is willful and deliberate flouting of the orders made by this Court in W.P.M.P. No. 17027/2006 in W.P. No. l3680/2006 dt. 11-7-2006.

5. At this stage, it may be stated that a lengthy common order was made in W.P.M.P. No. 17027/2006 in W.P. No. 13680/2006 and batch and the said common order runs into about 45 pages. The said order was dictated in open Court.

6. In the counter affidavit filed by the first respondent it is stated that the direction made by this Court on 11-7-2006 was communicated to the learned Government Pleader for Panchayat Raj by letter dt. 12-7-2006 to the concerned District Collectors (Panchayat Wing) and accordingly the respondent-Revenue Divisional Officer had reviewed the reservations in Kodad Mandal and passed orders on 15-7-2006 vide proceedings No.G/943/2006. Further it is stated that the contention of the petitioner that the respondents had not taken any action on the representation dt. 18-6-2006 submitted by the petitioner is not correct. It is also stated that on the representation dt. 18-6-2006, the Collector, Nalgonda sought a clarification from Commissioner, Panchayat Raj and Rural Employment and in turn, the Commissioner, Panchayat Raj and Rural Employment had issued a clarification to the Collector, Nalgonda vide his letter No. 6953/CPR&RE/M2/2006, dt. 24-6-2006, advising the Collector to follow the projected percentage of B.Cs. communicated by the Government. It is further stated that the request of the petitioner to allot (09) Gram Panchayats for B.Cs., as per the proportionate percentage of B. C. voters of the Mandal is not tenable, which is against the rules issued in G.O.Ms. No. 220, PR, dt. 25-5-2006. Further it is stated that for arriving at the number of offices to be reserved for B.Cs., the percentage of projected population communicated by the Government will be the basis and will be calculated with a formula prescribed by the Government and that on arriving at the number of seats basing on this formula, Gram Panchayats for B.Cs., will be reserved on the basis of the percentage of BC voters in descending order, duly following rotation as per Government orders and hence, the question of taking BC voters percentage for arriving at the number of seats does not arise, which is violative of the rules issued in G.O.Ms. No. 220, PR dt.25-5-2006. Further it is stated that the allegations made by the petitioner that inspite of the orders of the Hon'ble High Court and having knowledge of the directions given by the Hon'ble High Court, the respondents have accepted the nominations without completing the exercise of reviewing the reservations of Gram Panchayats is not correct. It is also stated that the letter of Government Pleader dated 12-7-2006, which was addressed to the respective Collectors about the orders of the Hon'ble Court dt. 11-7-2006 in W.P.P. No.17027/2006 in W.P. No. 13680/2006 was received by the Revenue Divisional Officer, Suryapet on 14-7-2006 and that in pursuance of the said orders of the Hon'ble High Court, the Revenue Divisional Officer had reviewed the reservations of Kodad Mandal and passed the order dt. 15-7-2006 and proceeded further with the election process, since there is no change in the reservations made already. It is further stated that the Departmental Officials who were present in the Hon'ble Court at the time of hearing on 11-7-2006 also have informed the respective Subordinate Officers on the same day about the Hon'ble Court's orders and thus, the orders of this Hon'ble Court dt. 11-7-2006 are implemented. Specific stand had been taken that the respondents had implemented the order of this Court dt. 11-7-2006.

7. The letter dt. 12-7-2006 addressed by the learned Government Pleader for Panchayat Raj reads as hereunder:

Government of Andhra Pradesh

Lr. No. W.P. 13716, 13680, 13630, 13917, 13891 &

13384/2006/KJR/P. Raj

Dt. 12-07-2007

From To

Sri K. Janakirami Reddy The District Collector (pt wing)

Govt.Pleader for P. Raj Kadapa, Nalgonda, Ranga Reddy,

High Court of A.P. Vizianagaram, Krishna District.

Hyderabad.

Sir,

Sub:- Suits--High Court-W.P. 13716, 13680, 13630, 13917, 13891 & 13385/2006 fil ed by K. Ramsubba Reddy, C.K. Dinne Mandal, Kadapa District, the District B.C. Mahila Welfare Association, by its president Bangaru Nagamani, Kodada Mandal, Nalgonda District, A. Sudhakar, Bibinagar Mandal, Nalgonda, Yerupula Venkatesam, R.R. District, Koonisetty ramarao, Mentada Mandal, Vizianagaram District, T.Neelamma, Nidamanuru village, Vijayawada Rural, Krishna District - case intimation -Regarding.

In the above said Writ Petitions the Hon'ble High Court was pleased to passed Interim Directions in W.P.M.P. No. 17064, 17027, 16955, 17332 & 17301 & 16638 in W.P. No.s 13716, 13680, 13630, 13917, 13891 & 13384/2006 on 11-7-2006 directing the Revenue Divisional Officers concerned to review the reservation made in their respective Mandals and pass appropriate orders and further directed that after reviewing reservations the authorities can proceed further in concluding Elections.

It is further informed you that the order passed by the learned Judge in the above said WPMPs. So far this office has not received the order copy as it was not ready by the Registry.

This for your information.

Sd/-

G.P. for Panchayat Raj

8. Further letter No.6953/CPR&RE/M2/2006, dt.24-6-2006 addressed by the Commissioner to the District Collector, Nalgonda reads as hereunder:

Government of Andhra Pradesh

Office of The Commissioner Panchayat Raj & Rural

Employment,

Panchayat Bhavan, Urduhall Lane, Himayatnagar,

Hyderabad - 29.

From: To

S.E. Sekhar Babu, I.A.S., The District Collector,

Commissioner, NALAGONDA

Letter No. 6953/CPR&RE/M2/2006. Dated 24-6-2006

Sir,

Sub:- Elections -Elections to P.R. Bodies -Division Suryapet, Mandal Kodad - Projected B.C. Population not rational - Request for revision -Reg.

Ref:-1) Roc. No. 564/06-B1 (Plg), dated 20-6-2006 from the District Collector, Nalgonda.

2) Representation dt. 18-6-2006 from the President, District B.C. Women Welfare Association, Nalgonda District.

The attention of the District Collector, Nalgonda is invited to the reference cited, wherein it was reported that there is a major variation between the actual BC voters percentage and projected percentage of B.Cs. which may not be rational and that there is every likelihood of Law and other problem also if the projected B.C. population is adopted for finalizing the reservation of Gram Panchayats and requested to recommend to the Government for revision of projected B.C. population of Kodad mandal in order to finalize the reservation of the Gram Panchayats.

In the circumstances mentioned above, it is clear that the Revenue Divisional Officer, Suryapet has finalized the revision of MPTCs on the number allotted by the District Collector with the same percentage of B.C projected figures and he is now finding variation in B.C. projection and expecting law and order problem in implementing the B.C. percentage communicated by Government, which is baseless.

Hence, the District Collector, Nalgonda is advised to follow the projected percentage of BCs. Communicated by the Government.

Yours faithfully,

Sd/-

S.E. Sekhar Babu,

Commissioner, PR & RE

Copy to the Chief Executive Officer, Z.P., Nalgonda.

The relevant Rules also were placed before this Court.

9. In the counter affidavit filed by R. 3, the directions made by this Court had been specified and it is stated that

the said directions made by this Court on 11-7-2006 were communicated to the learned Government Pleader for Panchayat Raj by letter dt. 12-7-2006 to the concerned District Collectors (Panchayat Wing) and accordingly, the respondent Revenue Divisional Officer had reviewed the reservations in Kodad Mandal and passed orders on 15-7-2006 vide proceedings No. G/943/2006. It is further averred that the contention of the petitioner that the respondents had not taken any action on the representation dt. 18-6-2006 submitted by the petitioner is not correct and also stated that on the representation dt. 18-6-2006 the Collector, Nalgonda sought a clarification from Commissioner, Panchayat Raj and Rural Employment and accordingly a clarification was issued to the Collector, Nalgonda, vide this Office Lr. No. 6953/CPR & RE/M2/2006, dt. 24-6-2006, advising the Collector to follow the projected percentage of B.Cs. communicated by Government. Further it is stated that the request of the petitioner to allot (09) Gram Panchayats for PCs as per the proportionate percentage of B.C voters of the Mandal is not tenable which is against the Rules issued in G.O. Ms. No. 220, PR, dt.25-5-2006. It is also stated that for arriving at the number of offices to be reserved for B.Cs., the percentage of projected population communicated by the Government will be the basis and will be calculated with a formula prescribed by the Government and that on arriving at the number of seats basing on this formula, Gram Panchayats for B.Cs., will be reserved on the basis of the percentage of B.C. Voters in descending order, duly following rotation as per Government Orders and hence, the question of taking the B.C. Voters percentage for arriving at the number of seats does not arise which is violative of the Rules issued in G.O. Ms., No. 220, PR, dt. 25-5-2006. Further it is stated that the allegation made by the petitioner that inspite of the orders of this Court and having knowledge of the directions given by the Hon'ble High Court, the respondents had accepted the nominations without completing the exercise of reviewing the reservations of Gram Panchayats is not corrected. It is stated that a letter dt. 12-7-2006 is received by the Revenue Divisional Officer, Suryapet on 14-7-2006 from the Government Pleader addressed to the respective Collectors about the orders of the Hon'ble Court dt. 11-7-2006 in W.P.M.P. No. 17027/2006 in W.P. No. 13680/2006 and accordingly, the Revenue Divisional Officer had reviewed the reservations of Kodad Mandal immediately and passed the order dt. 15-7-2006 and proceeded further with the election process, since there is no change in the reservations made already.

10. The 4th respondent filed counter affidavit wherein specific stand had been taken that

the allegations made that the nominations were accepted without completing the exercise of reviewing the reservation of the Gram Panchayats of Kodad Mandal of Nalgonda District is not correct. It is stated that a letter was received from the Government Pleader, Panchayat Raj, A.P. High Court which was communited by the District Panchayat Officer, Nalgonda on 14-7-2006 about the directions of the Hon'ble High Court dt. 11-7-2006. Accordingly, the reservations already made to the offices of Sarpanchas of Gram Panchayats of Kodad Mandal were rechecked and reviewed with reference to the Government orders. It is further stated that as per G.O. Ms. No. 220, PR & RD Department, dt. 25-5-2006, first reservations for STs has to be taken up basing on their proportionate of population and after deleting the offices reserved for STs., reservations have to be made in favour of SCs basing on their percentage of population and that after completing the reservations for STs and SCs, reservations to BCs. have to be taken up basing on the formula given in the G.O. Ms. No. 220, dt. 25-5-2006 duly following rotation for all the reserved categories. Further it is stated that as per4of G.O. Ms. No. 220, dt.25-5-2006, the Revenue Divisional Officer will determine the number of seats to be reserved in favour of STs., SCs., and BCs. As per Rule 7(1) number of seats for STs., and SCs., shall be determined as follows: STs:

Total No. of Gram Panchayats in Kodad Mandal - 28

Total population of the mandal -1,16,358

ST population -10,170

ST population x No. GP's

No. of seats = -------------------------

Total population of Mandal

10170X28

= ----------- = 2.44

116358

= 02

Rounded off to

l/3rd reservation for women

Rounded off to = 2/3 = 0.66 = 01.

STs:- M/W = 01

W =01

-- 02

SCs:

Total No. of Gram Panchayats in Kodad Mandal - 28

Total population of the mandal - 1,16,358

SC population -19,811

SC population x No. GP's

No. of seats = --------------------------

Total population of Mandal

19811 X 28

= ---------- = 4.76

116358

Rounded off to = 05

l/3rd reservation for women

Rounded off to = 5/3 = 1.66 = 02.

SCs:- M/W = 03

W =02

---05

As per Rule 7(2), the reservations for BCs shall be made as follows:

BCs:

Total No. of Gram Panchayats in Kodad Mandal - 28

Percentage of projected BC population as - 22.61 %

Communicated by the Govt., vide Memo.

No. 5810/Elec, & Rules/2006, dt. 2 7-5-2006

Seats for BCs as per the Mandal proportionate % x Mandal % experience No. of GPs

Formula fixed by Govt. ------------------------------------------------------

Vide G.O. Ms. No. 220, dt. 25-5-2006 100

0.863 x 22.61 x 28

No. Of seats for BCs = ------------------ = 5.46

100

Rounded off to = 05

l/3rd reservation for women =5/3 =1.66

Rounded off to

BCs: M/W = 03

W =02

--- 05

The following is the total picture of reservations of the offices of Sarpanchas of Gram Panchayats in Kodad Mandal

Sl.No. Category M/W W TOTAL

1. STs 01 01 02

2. SCs 03 02 05

3. BCs 03 02 05

4. UNRESERVED 11 05 16

TOTAL 28

It is also stated that as per the directions of the Hon'ble High Court, as informed by the Government Pleader for Panchayat Raj, the reservations already made were reviewed and found that there is no change in the number of seats, even after review and that having no change in the reservations already done, proceeded further with election process as per the direction given by the Hon'ble High Court dt. 11-7-2006. It is stated that review order was also passed on 15-7-2006 vide proceedings No. G/943/2006 and proceeded with further process of conducting elections. Further it is stated that the W.P.M.P.s were disposed of with a direction to review the reservations of the Gram Panchayats in relation to the respective mandals i.e., Kodad Mandal, Nalgonda District, C.K. Dinne Mandal, Kadapa District, Guntur Rural Mandal, Guntur District, Ghatkesar Mandal in Ranga Reddy District and after completing the exercise, liberty is given to the respondents further proceed in relation to the Gram Panchayat elections of the said Gram Panchayats.

11. In the counter affidavit filed by the 5th respondent virtually the stand taken by the 4 respondent had been repeated and specific stand had been taken that the directions of this Court had been complied with.

12. In the Suo Motu Contempt Case C.C.No.985/2006 on 21-7-2006 this Court made the following Order:

1. On appreciation of the whole factual matrix keeping in view the dignity of this Court as a Constitutional Court, this Court is of the considered opinion that this is a fit case that suo motu contempt proceedings to be issued. In M.V. Elisabeth v. Harwan Investment and Trading Pvt. Ltd. Goa it was held by the Apex Court that the Hon'ble Courts in India are superior Courts of Record and they have inherent and plenary powers, unless expressly or impliedly barred, and subject to the appellate or discretionary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, the High Courts have unlimited jurisdiction, including the jurisdiction to determine their own powers. This is a Court of Record, The Constitutional Courts are bound to uphold the rule of law. Men may come, men may go. This mighty institution to survive. The dignity of the institution to be maintained. On a prima facie reading of the order impugned dt. 15-7-2006, it is shown, present Sri K.N. Kristappa, M.A., M.Ed., proceedings of Deputy District Election Authority & the Revenue Divisional Officer, Bhongir, No. F/l307/06, the reference No. 1, Government Pleader for Panchayat Raj, Hon'ble High Court of A.P., letter dt. 127-2006 and reference No. 2, District Election Authority and District Collector, Nalgonda District, letter dt. 14-7-2006. On a prima facie reading of this order, this Court satisfied that both the District Election Authority & District Collector, Nalgonda, it is stated the name of the District Collector is Sri Vijayanand and Revenue Divisional Officer (Deputy Election Authority), Bhongir, name is shown as Sri K.N. Kristappa, clearly intended to circumvent the orders made by this Court with a view to defeat the orders of this Court to overreach the orders made by this Court. In the considered opinion of this Court, this is totally impermissible. This Court is only expressing a prima facie opinion since opportunity to be given to the other side also in this regard. It maynot be out of context if this Court again reiterates the letter dt. 12-7-2006 said to have been made by the learned Government Pleader for Panchayat Raj, Hon'ble High Court of A.P., Hyderabad. The Government Pleaders are not always the mouthpieces of the Government, whatever may be the wrongs which may be made by the executives. These Law Officers are duty bound to see that the orders of this Court are honoured. They owe a duty not only towards the client, the Government, they equally owe a duty towards Courts as well This is the working of the system. It is unknown what nature of advise was given; when it was given; how it was given and why such order was made in undue haste without considering the detailed orders made by this Court. In an additional affidavit filed before this Court, several facts had been narrated relating to what actually had been happened before the Division Bench and it was stated that the learned Division Bench had pointed out in relation to not reviewing the matters in accordance with the directions and it was further stated that the learned Advocate General had stated before the learned Division Bench that the learned Single Judge had not specified how to review the reservations and it was further stated that at about 3.45 p.m., the learned Assist Government Pleader represented before this Court, the learned Single Judge, that order dt. 11-7-2006 had been stayed. It was further stated that factually it is an incorrect stand. Be that as it may, suffice to state, at this stage, the concerned officers had landed themselves into the trouble of contempt proceedings whatever may be the reasons. It is a matter of implementation of the Court orders and enforcement of the rule of law nothing more and nothing beyond. This Court had an occasion to deal with the role of lawyers in the context deciding the question relating to reservation of the Government Pleaders in S. Nagender v. Government of A.P. 2006 (4) A.L.T. 66 (FB), wherein it was observed as hereunder:

Interest of this institution predominantly depends upon the efficient Bar and the Bench. It is needless to say that independence of Judiciary is the core of the working of the division of powers amongst the three wings. If this wing fails, the very foundation of the political, executive and the social systems and the other systems as well would be at peril In that view of the matter too, the policy of reservation may have to be viewed and hence when the State Government had taken a policy decision in this regard the same may have to be decided in the backdrop of the Limitations of judicial review imposed on these Courts by settled principles. The institutional interest to be kept in view and equally so the Constitutional obligations also may have to be followed. The realities of Indian society cannot be lost sight of and Judiciary may have to function in the interest and larger welfare of the society in the backdrop of the Constitutional obligations enshrined in the Constitution. It is needless to say over-emphasize on the role which is expected to be played by the concerned Government Pleaders to represent the cases of Government in this regard.

It is needless to say that the Government functions through human agencies and the persons at the helm of affairs in this regard to be cautious enough to safeguard the interest of the Government, in a way which can be said to be public interest as well, by seeing that proper and suitable persons are appointed as Government Pleaders. Standing at the Bar, efficiency, touch with the work of a particular branch of Law and the other like aspects may have to be considered while making appointments as Government Pleaders so that the Government matters may be properly and effectively represented and argued before the Courts and also with the fond hope that such matters may not suffer due to the inefficiency or otherwise on the part of the Government Pleaders representing such matters.

In Venkat Rao v. Deputy Transport Commissioner and Secretary, Regional Transport Authority, Kakinada a learned Judge of this Court while dealing with the aspect of role of lawyers observed thus: In view of the general importance of the question as to the Role of Lawyers, I propose to make few observations before parting away with the case. A lawyer is an integral part of administration of justice. Courts to a very large extend depend upon the learning, scholarship and wisdom of the Counsel appearing in a matter. The Courts lean heavily upon the Counsel for guidance. True, every Advocate has right to give such advice to his client, which he bona fide believes to be true and correct. It may be part of his duty. But he has important responsibilities to the Court as well to his client. A lawyer cannot be viewed as a hired gun. The Advocate is more than a mouthpiece. He owes allegiance to a higher cause.

2. Lord Morris in Rondel v. Worsley 1957 (1) QB 443 observed that" to a certain extent every advocate is an amicus curiae. " In the light of the fact that several other factual details are essential for further expressing the opinion in relation to this aspect, this Court is not inclined to express any further opinion since other factual details may be reflected in the counter affidavits which may be filed at the appropriate stage. Suffice to state that this Court is satisfied that prima facie both Sri Vijayanand, District Collector, Nalgonda, at present the first respondent in W.P. No. 14926/2006 and Sri K.N. Kristappa, the second respondent in the Writ Petition aforesaid. The Revenue Divisional Officer and Deputy Election Authority, Bhongir, Nalgonda District, by virtue of proceedings No. F/1307/06, dated 15-7-2006, made a serious attempt to overreach the orders of this Court by willfully and intentionally disobeying the orders dated 11-7-2006 made in W.P.M.P. No. 17027 of 2006 in W.P. No. 13680 of 2006; W.P.M.P. No. 16955 of 2006 in W.P. No. 13630 of 2006; W.P.M.P. No. 17064 of 2006 in W.P. No. 13716 of 2006; W.P.M.P. No. 17309 of 2006 in W.P. No. 13899 of 2006 and W.P.M.P. No. 17332 of 2006 in W.P. No. 13917 of 2006.

3. Hence, Registry to serve show cause notices on Sri Vijayanand, District Collector, Nalgonda and Sri K.N. Kristappa, the Revenue Divisional Officer, Bhongir. List the matter after ten days.

13. In the reply affidavit filed by respondent No. 1, it is stated that W.P. No. 13630 of 2006 was. filed by one Sri A. Sudhakar, R/o. Nemargomula Gram Panchayat, Bibinagar Mandal of Nalgonda District questioning the action of the respondent in reserving Nemergomula Gram Panchayat for Schedule Tribes as illegal and arbitrary and that in the said Writ Petition the respondents have filed counter affidavit and the Hon'ble Court heard the Writ Petition along with five other Writ Petitions on 11-7-2006 and disposed of the W.P.M.P.s with the following direction: These W.P.M.P.s are disposed of with a direction to review the reservations of Gram Panchayats in relation to the respective Mandals i.e., Kodad Mandal, Nalgonda District, Bibinagar Mandal, Nalgonda District, C.K. Dinne Mandal, Kadapa District, Guntur Rural Mandal, Guntur District, Ghatkesar Mandal in Ranga Reddy District and after completing the said exercise, liberty is given to the respondents to further proceed in relation to the Gram Panchayat elections of the said Gram Panchayats.

It is also averred that the said Writ Petition was disposed of on 20-7-2006 by the Division Bench of this Hon'ble Court which is as follows:

At the hearing, learned Counsel for the parties stated that in compliance of interim order dt. 11-7-2006 passed by the learned single Judge in W.P.M.P. No. 16955 of 2006 filed by the petitioner, the concerned authority has passed fresh orders dt.14-7-2006 in the matter of reservation of the post of Sarpanch and that order is subject matter of challenge in Writ Petition No. 14926 of 2006.

In view of the aforementioned development, the prayer made in this petition will be deemed to have become infructuous and the Writ Petition is liable to be disposed of as such.

14. It is also averred that according to the Election Notification, the filing of nominations was commenced from 15-7-2006 and that the directions given by the Hon'ble High Court in W.P.M.P. No. 16955/2006 in W.P. No. 13630/2006 was informed by the learned Government Pleader for Panchayat Raj vide letter dated 12-7-2006 to the concerned District Collector (Panchayat Wing). It is also stated that the Officers of the Commissioner Office who were present in the Court at the time of dictating the orders in W.P.M.P. No. 16955 of 2006 in W.P. No. 13630 of 2006 dated 11-7-2006 also communicated to all the concerned District Collector (Panchayat Wing) and Revenue Divisional Officers and that accordingly, the 2nd respondent - Revenue Divisional Officer had reviewed the reservations made for Bibinagar Mandal and passed orders on 14-7-2006. Further it is averred that aggrieved by the orders passed by the Revenue Divisional Officer in proceedings No. F/l307/2006, dated 14-7-2006 reviewing the reservations of Bibinagar Mandal, Mr. A. Sudhakar (petitioner in W.P. No. 13630/2006) filed W.P. No. 14926/2006 and the Hon'ble Court stayed the Elections of the Office of the Sarpanchas of the Nemergomula Gram Panchayat on 21-7-2006 and that aggrieved by the said orders, the respondents filed Writ Appeal W.A. No. 797/2006 and the same was allowed on 7-8-2006. Further it is stated that as per the directions of this Court dt. 11-7-2006, the Revenue Divisional Officer, Bhongiri had reviewed the reservations of Bibinagar Mandal and passed orders on 14-7-2006 and that as there is no changes in the reservations already made, the respondents herein proceeded further in conducting elections in compliance of the directions given by this Court on 11-7-2006 which were communicated by the learned Government Pleader (Panchayat Raj) through letter dt. 12-7-2006 and also by the officials of the Commissioner of Panchayat Raj. Further it is stated that neither there is intention nor it can be at any point of time by this respondent to overreach the orders of this Hon'ble Court dt. 11-7-2006. Further it is also stated that this respondent had implemented the orders of this Hon'ble Court by reviewing the reservations of the office of the Sarpanchas of Bibinagar Mandal as per the directions of this Hon'ble Court and as informed by the learned Government Pleader for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development, High Court of A.P. It is also further stated that there is no intention to disobey the orders of this Hon'ble Court and also stated that as stated supra, as per the election notification the process of receiving nominations commenced from 15-7-2006 and hence the Revenue Divisional Officer, Bhongiri completed the exercise of review in compliance of the directions of this Hon'ble Court dt. 11-7-2006 and proceeded further to complete the election process which was set in motion as per the Election Notification issued by the State Election Commission on 9-7-2006. It is also further stated that the respondents had implemented the orders of this Court by reviewing the reservations of the Offices of Sarpanchas of Bhongiri Mandal as per the directions of this Court. The review orders dt. 14-7-2006 were made inc compliance with the directions of this Court dt. 11-7-2006 and hence, they had not disobeyed the orders of this Court.

15. In the reply affidavit filed by R.2, substantially the same stand had been taken. It is stated that according to the Election Notification, date of filing of nominations was from 15-7-2006. It is also stated that the directions given by the Hon'ble High Court in W.P.M.P. No. 16955/2006 in W.P. No. 13630/2006 was informed by the learned Government Pleader for Panchayat Raj by letter dt. 12-7-2006 to the concerned District Collector (Panchayat Wing). It is further stated that the Additional Commissioner of Panchayat Raj who was present in the Court at the time of dictating the orders in W.P.M.P. No. 16955/2006 in W.P. No. 136360/2006 dt. 11-7-2006 also communicated the gist of orders by telephone to all the concerned District Collector (Panchayat wing) and Revenue Divisional Officers and that accordingly, the respondents had reviewed the reservations made for Bibinagar Mandal and passed orders on 14-7-2006. Further it is averred that aggrieved by the orders passed by the Revenue Divisional Officer in proceedings No. F/l307/2007 dated 14-7-2006 reviewing the reservations of Bibinagar Mandal, Mr. A. Sudhakar (petitioner in W.P. No. 13630/2006) filed W.P. No. 14926/2006 and the Hon'ble Court on 21-7-2006 stayed the Election of the Office of the Sarpanchas of the Nemergomula Gram Panchayat and that aggrieved by the said orders, the respondents filed Writ Appeal No. 797/2006 and the same was allowed on 7-8-2006. It is further stated that as stated supra, as per the directions of this Hon'ble Court dated 11-7-2006, this respondent had reviewed the reservations of Bibinagar Mandal and passed orders on 14-7-2006. Further it is averred that since this Hon'ble Court reserved liberty to proceed with the election, the respondents had proceeded further in conducting elections in compliance of the directions given by this Hon'ble Court on 11-7-2006 which were communicated by learned Government Pleader (PR) through letter dt. 12-7-2006 and also by the officials of Commissioner of Panchayat Raj. It is also averred that neither there is any intention nor it is ever an attempt at any point of time by this respondent to overreach the orders of this Hon'ble Court dt. 11-7-2006. It is further averred that this respondent implemented the orders of this Hon'ble Court by reviewing the reservations of the office of the Sarpanchas of Bibinagar Mandal as per the directions of this Hon'ble Court and that the review was undertaken based on the information given by the learned Government Pleader for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development, High Court of Andhra Pradesh, and also the Officers of the Panchayat Raj Department. Further it is averred that there is no intention to disobey the orders of this Hon'ble Court and also stated that as stated supra as per the election notification, the process of receiving nominations starts from 15-7-2006 and hence the respondent completed the exercise of review in compliance of the directions of this Hon'ble Court dated 11-7-2006 and proceeded further.

16. Similar letters and correspondence which had been referred to supra and also the relevant Rules governing the field had been placed before this Court.

17. The Counsel representing the respective parties made elaborate submissions and also placed strong reliance on certain decisions. Certain submissions were made on the meaning of review and further submissions were made in relation to the scope and ambit of Article 215 of the Constitution of India and how the contempt powers are to be exercised. The principal question to be decided in these Contempt Cases is whether the respondents are liable to be punished under the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 (hereinafter, in short, referred to as 'the Act' for the purpose of convenience). Article 375 of the Constitution of India dealing with Courts, authorities and officers to continue to function subject to the provisions of the Constitution reads as hereunder: All Courts of civil, criminal and revenue jurisdiction, all authorities and all officers, judicial, executive and ministerial, throughout the territory of India, shall continue to exercise their respective functions subject to the provisions of this Constitution.

18. Article 215 of the Constitution of India dealing with High Courts to be Courts of record reads as hereunder:

Every High Court shall be a Court of record and shall have all the powers of such a Court including the power to punish for contempt of itself.

18. At the outset, it may be stated that mocking at the majesty of Courts to escape the contempt proceedings putting forth plea of pretence compliance, cannot be equated with actual compliance. It is no doubt true that on the ground of burden of proof and also on the ground that the contempt powers are to be exercised very sparingly, such Officers make an attempt to escape from the rigor of law. Majesty of Courts always to be protected at any cost. Manipulated tactics to get over the orders of the Courts always to be deprecated. No presumption of innocence as such can be inferred in such cases if the Court is satisfied that the violation is willful and deliberate. In the light of the letter referred to supra, when the letter is so carefully worded, instead of carefully examining the contents of the order, the Officers cannot take shelter on the ground that in pursuance of the said letter, the order made by this Court had been complied with. When detailed orders are dictated in open Court, the concerned Public Administration is bound to go through the orders, understand the reasons on the strength of which the order had been made and then take a stand reporting compliance. It is no doubt true that in the case of pretence compliance, many a time for the Courts it would be difficult to draw a distinction between bona fides and mala fides, difficult to read the mental element of the contemnor. Here is a case where the role of a third party, the learned Government Pleader for Panchayat Raj, had been taken by way of defence. The fact that the order was not made ready had been specified in the letter. The contents of the letter being self-explanatory, the same need not be elaborated. Implementation of a judicial order, in the considered opinion of this Court, can be only on understanding of the order. To understand an order, the concerned are expected to go through the order. Reliance was placed on Kapildeo Prasad Sah v. State of Bihar ; Tayabbhai M Bagasarwalla v. Hind Rubber Industries Private Limited ; Anil Ratan Sarkar v. Hirak Ghosh ; AI REG Rural Bank Officers Fed. v. Government of India ; Surjit Singh v. Harbans Singh ; Ravi S. Naik : Sanjay Bandekar v. Union of India 1994 Supp (2) SCC 641; TMA Pai Foundation Others v. State of Karnataka ; Vidya Chaaran Shukla v. Tamil Nadu Olympic Association ; J.S. Parihar v. Ganpat Duggar ; Union of India v. Subvedar Devassy P.V. .

19. In Haridas v. Usha Rani Banik and Ors. the Apex Court observed:

Lord Justice Donovan in Attorney General v. Butterworth 1963 (1) QB 696, after making reference to Req. v. Odham's Press Ltd ex parte A.G. 1957 (1) QB 73, said: "whether or not there was an intention to interfere with the administration of justice is relevant to penalty not to quit". This makes it clear that an intention to interfere with the proper administration of justice is an essential ingredient of the offence of contempt of Court and it is enough if the action complained of is inherently likely so to interfere. In Morris v. Crown Officer 1970 (1) All E.R. 1079 page 1081, Lord Denning M.R. said: that the course of justice must not be deflected or interfered with. Those without do it strike at the very foundations of our Society. In the same case, Lord Justice Solmon spoke: The sole purpose of proceedings for contempt is to give our Courts the power effectively to protect the rights of the public by ensuring that the administration of justice shall not be obstructed or prevented.

Frank Further, J., in Offutt v. U.S. 1954 (348) US 11, expressed his view as follows:

It is a mode of vindicating the majesty of law, in its active manifestation against obstruction and outrage.

In Jennison v. Baker 1972 (1) All E.R. 997 at page 1006 it is stated:

The law should not be seen to sit by limply, while those who defy it go free, and those who seek its protection lose hope.

Chinappa Reddy, J., speaking for the Bench in Advocate-General, State of Bihar v. Madhya Pradesh Khair Industries , citing those two decisions in the cases of Offutt's case and Jessison's case (supra), stated thus: ...It may be necessary to punish as a contempt a course of conduct which abuses and makes a mockery of the judicial process and which thus extends its pernicious influence beyond the parties to the action and affects the interest of the public in the administration of justice. The public have an interest, an abiding and a real interest, and vital stake in the effective and orderly administration of justice, because unless justice is so administered, there is the peril of all rights and liberties perishing. The Court has the duty of protecting the interest of the public in the due administration of justice and, so, it is entrusted with the power to commit for contempt of Court not in order to protect the dignity of the Court against insult or injury as the expression "Contempt of Court" may seem to suggest but to protect and to vindicate the right of the public and the administration of justice shall not be prevented, prejudiced, obstructed or interfered with.

What is contempt of Court has been stated in lucid terms by Oswald in Classic ''Book of Contempt of Court". It is said:

To speak generally, contempt of Court may be said to be constituted by any conduct that tends to bring the authority and demonstration of law into disrespect and disregard or to interfere with or prejudice parties, litigant or their witnesses during the litigation.

Contempt in the legal acceptance of the term, primarily signifies disrespect to that which is entitled to legal regard, but as a wrong purely moral or affecting an object not possessing a legal status, it has in the eye of the law no existence. In its origin all legal contempt will be found to consist in an offence more or less direct against the sovereign himself as the fountainhead of law and justice or against his palace where justice was administered. This clearly appears from old cases.

In Re Bramblevale, Ltd. (1969) 3 All E.R. 1062 Lord Denning, M.R., observed:

A contempt of Court is an offence of a criminal character. A man may be sent to prison for it. It must be satisfactorily proved. To use the time-honoured phrase, it must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. It is not proved by showing that, when the man was asked about it, he told lies. There must be some further evidence to incriminate him. Once some evidence is given, then his lies can be thrown into the scale against him.

In Union of India (referred 10 supra) it was held that if any party concerned is aggrieved by the order which in its opinion is wrong or against rules or its implementation is neither practicable nor feasible, it should always either approach the Court that passed the order or invoke jurisdiction of the appellate Court and the rightness or wrongness of the order cannot be urged in contempt proceedings and right or wrong, the order has to be obeyed contempt Court cannot test correctness or otherwise of the order or give additional direction or delete any direction. In Murray & CO. v. Ashok KR. Newatta it was held as hereunder:

As regards the question of punishment, be it noted that punishment in one matter cannot be the guiding factor for punishment in another. Punishment has a co-relation with facts and in each case where punishment is imposed, the same must be the resultant effect of the acts complained of - more serious the violation, more severe is the punishment - and that has been the accepted norm, in matters though however within the prescribed limits.

Incidentally, Section 13 of the Act of 1971 postulates not punishment for contemptuous conduct in certain cases and the language used therein seems to be with utmost care and caution when it records that unless the court is satisfied that contempt is of such a nature that the act complained of substantially interferes with the due course of justice, question of any punishment would not arise. It is not enough that there should be some technical contempt of Court but it must be shown that the act of contempt would otherwise substantially interfere with the due course of justice which has been equated with "due administration of justice". Jenkins, C.J. in an old Calcutta High Court decision in the case of Governor of Bengal v. Matilal Ghosh ILR 41 Calcutta 173 : AIR 1914 Cal 69 : 1913 (14) Cri LJ 321 observed:

Then this motion raises a question of high importance, which it would not be right for me to pass by without remark I allude to the question what circumstances ordinarily justify recourse to this summary process of contempt.

It is not enough that there should be a technical contempt of Court; it must be shown that it was probable the publication would substantially interfere with the due administration of justice.

In this context, reference may also be made to the observations of Lord Diplock in Attorney-General v. Times Newspapers Ltd. (1973) 3 All ER 54 Lord Diplock observed:

Since the Court's discretion in dealing with a motion for committal is wide enough to entitle it to dismiss the motion with costs despite the fact that a contempt has been committed, if it thinks that the contempt was too venial to justify its being brought to the attention of the Court at all, the distinction between conduct which is within the general concept of contempt of court and conduct included within that general concept, which a Court regards as deserving of punishment in the particular circumstances of the case, is often blurred in the judgments in the reported cases. The expression 'technical contempt' is a convenient expression which has sometimes been used to describe conduct which falls into the former but outside the latter category, and I agree with my noble and learned friend, Lord Reid, that given conduct which presents a real risk as opposed to a mere possibility of interference with due administration of justice, this is at very least a technical contempt.

Substantial interference with the course of justice is the requirement of the statute for imposition of punishment. There is no manner of doubt that the words 'due course of justice' used in Section 13 is wider in scope than the words 'due course of any judicial proceeding or administration of justice' used in Sub-clause (ii) or (iii) of Section 20. In this context reference may be made to the decision of this Court in R. Subba Rao's case Rachapudi Subba Rao v. Advocate-General, Andhra Pradesh . For proper appreciation of the intent of legislation Section 13 as also Section 2(c) are set out herein below. Section 13 reads as under:

13. Contempts not punishable in certain cases-Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, no Court shall impose a sentence under this Act for a contempt of Court unless it is satisfied that the contempt is of such a nature that it substantially interferes, or tends substantially to interfere with the due course of justice.

Strong reliance was placed on Mrityunjoy Das v. Sayed Hasibur Rahaman AIR 2001 S.C. 1293 wherein the Apex Court observed that the contempt jurisdiction to be sparingly exercised with due care and caution and the standard of proof required is that of a criminal proceeding.

20. These are typical cases where it is stated that the directions of this Court had been complied with and evidently the same appears to be on the strength of the letter addressed at the advice given by the learned Government Pleader. This Court makes it clear that where lengthy orders with reasons are recorded by Courts, the concerned Officers who are bound to implement such directions are expected to go through the order carefully and cautiously and the responsibility of the concerned advising them also need not be overemphasized in this regard. Being guided away by the unthoughtfulness of the concerned Government Pleader by itself may not be a valid defence always though it may be a mitigating circumstance where several reasons are recorded and it would be always desirable to go through such lengthy orders before reporting compliance of such orders. Further, the advise should be just reasonable and at least should stand the scrutiny of the standard of an ordinary and a reasonable prudent man, though this Court is satisfied that these orders were made in undue haste and suffer the want of due diligence. But, however, these orders are short of deliberate negligence in the light of the correspondence, especially, the letter addressed by the learned Government Pleader. Hence, the same would fall short of being fastened with the liability of contempt. This Court, however, expresses its displeasure over the way in which the concerned Public Officers acted in this regard. Suffice to state that the concerned with the public administration to be careful and cautious. With the above observations, in the light of the limitations, in exercise of the contempt jurisdiction, this Court is inclined to close the further contempt proceedings. Accordingly, the Contempt Cases are hereby closed with the above observations. It is made clear that the parties are at liberty to challenge these orders, if the parties are otherwise aggrieved of the said orders.