Filing of false affidavits or making false statement on oath in courts aims at striking a blow at the Rule of Law and no Court can ignore such conduct which has the tendency to shake public confidence in the judicial institutions because the very structure of an ordered life is put at stake. Thus, if any person tries to either file any false affidavit, forged document or even makes false statement on oath, the conduct of such person has a tendency to interfere with the administration of justice or the due course of judicial proceedings. This conduct is having tendency of impeding, obstructing or interference striking a blow on the role of law and no Court can ignore such conduct which has the tendency to shake the confidence of the public and in the judicial institution. It would be in our view a great public disaster if the fountain of justice is allowed to be poisoned by anyone resorting to file false affidavits by giving false statements or fabricating false evidence even by impersonation in a Court of law and as such, this type of acts clearly fall within the definition of criminal contempt as defined under Section 2(C) of the Contempt of Courts Act.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA
Cr. C.C.C. No. 26/2000
Decided On: 30.07.2003
Advocate General, High Court of Karnataka
Chidambara and Anr.
A.M. Farooq and S.R. Bannurmath, JJ.
Citation: 2004 CRLJ493
1.The stream of administration of justice has to remain unpolluted so that purity of Courts atmosphere may give vitality to all the organs of the State. The polluters of judicial firmament are therefore, required to be well taken care of to maintain sublimity of Courts environment; so also to enable to administer justice fairly and to the satisfaction of all concerned.
2.Anyone who takes recourse to fraud, deflects course of judicial proceedings, or if anything is done with oblique motive the same amounts to interference with the administration of justice. As such the persons are required to be properly dealt with, not only to punish them for the wrong done, but also to deter others from indulging in similar activity, which tends shakes the faith of the people in the system of administration of justice.
3.The present suomoto registered case is also one of such instances where this Court is taken for ride by the accused to obtain an order favourable and beneficial to the contemnors.
4.The brief facts leading to the present proceedings are as follows:
Accused No. 1 is the appellant in W.A.No. 4607/1998 filed on 6,10.1998 challenging the order of the learned Single Judge of this Court in W.P.No. 17853/1993. On 15.9.1999 the writ appeal was listed before the Division Bench of this Court for preliminary hearing. The contesting respondents in the writ appeal namely respondent/ caveator Nos. 1 to 4 were represented by their Counsel Sri Chandranath Ariga (C.W. 5). On that day a submission was made on behalf of accused No. 1 that the matter was settled by the parties and as per the settlement, the appeal was to be allowed and the contesting respondents to withdraw the Writ Petition. Noting this submission, the Division Bench adjourned the case to 7.10.1999 to enable the Counsel for the parties to file a written compromise petition and also directed the Counsel to keep all the parties present on 7.10.1999 for the purpose of recording their statements in respect of compromise. Accordingly on the next day viz., 7.10.1999 a compromise memo under Order 23 Rule 3 duly signed by all the parties and their Counsel came to be presented to the Court. After recording the statements of the parties including the appellant and respondent Nos. 2 to 4, the Court having prima facie satisfied that the parties have entered into compromise, allowed the compromise petition and ordered that the writ appeal be allowed; the impugned order of the learned Single Judge passed in W.P.No. 17853/1993 be set aside and the contesting respondents were permitted to withdrawn the Writ Petition filed by them. Consequently, the Writ Petition was dismissed as withdrawn.
5.Later on C.P. No. 1362/2000 came to be filed by Sri Balakrishna Shastry, Advocate, on behalf of respondent Nos. 1,3, 4. Similarly C.P.No. 1047/2000 also came to be filed on behalf of respondent Nos. 11 and 12 with common prayers for recalling the order dated 7.10.1999 passed by the Division Bench regarding the compromise, on the ground that neither these respondents viz., respondent Nos. 1, 3 and 4 were present or entered their appearance in the writ appeal nor had they signed and filed any compromise petition and as such, they suspect that the compromise on their behalf is a fraud committed on the Court either by misrepresentation or by impersonation.
6.The C.Ps. were taken up for consideration on 17.11.2000 and after recording the statement of accused No. 1 herein, having prima facie satisfied that the Court has by misrepresentation and playing fraud, accused No. 1 has obtained the order recording compromise and not only allowing his writ appeal but Writ Petition itself being dismissed as withdrawn, the Division Bench not only allowed the C.P.s., recalled its order dated 7.10.99 but directed that suomoto contempt proceedings be issued. It is to be mentioned here itself that though accused No. 1 was present in Court till then and in fact gave his statement before the Court on oath, by the time the order was being dictated, suddenly disappeared and as such at the conclusion of the C.P, the Court had to order for issue of NBW. Thereafter charges came to be filed against these two accused.
7.As the accused denied the charges and claimed to be tried, both sides were directed to put forth their evidence before the Court. Six witnesses were examined on behalf of the prosecution and several documents were got marked. Both the accused examined themselves as C.Ws. 1 and 2 and also produced some documents in support of their case.
8.Thereafter we have heard the learned Additional SPP for the prosecution, Sri Udaya Kumar, learned Counsel for accused No. 1 and Sri Alva, Advocate for respondent No. 2.
9.Out of the witnesses examined by the prosecution, C.W.1 Nirmal Kumar is an Advocate and Notary. He has spoken to his acquaintance with accused No. 2 who is also a practicing Advocate at Puttur. According to this witness, on 30.8.1999 both the accused came to his office for notarizing a document along with a woman and they informed him that the said person is one Smt. Sunanda Devi. Accordingly, after verifying the contents, he has notarised the document. He identifies the affidavit dated 30.8.1999 notarised by him as per Ex.P.3. It is to be noted that this affidavit is used for filing and in support of a caveat petition filed in the Writ appeal. In the cross-examination, he has denied the suggestion that accused No. 1 did not come to his office for notarizing and that he is deposing falsely. In the cross-examination by accused No. 2 he has admitted that he also belongs to the same community as that of accused No,2, that he has started practising about 15 years back and just after 2 or 3 years after his starting of practise, he came to get acquainted with accused No. 1.
10.The next witness is C.W. 2 Sri Balakrishna Shastry. C.W.2 Balakrishna Shastry was the Advocate appearing for the petitioners in W.P. 17853/1993 later on became respondent Nos. 1 to 5 in Writ Appeal No. 4607/1998. He has given detailed facts as to the litigation between the parties. He states that there was another case before the very Appellate Tribunal in R.A.No. 401 and 402 /1993 arising from the proceedings under Section 54 Cr.P.C and the order passed by the Deputy Commissioner in pursuance of Preliminary Decree passed in O.S.No. 266/1968 which too was filed by respondent Nos. 1 to 5 and the R.A. before the K.A.T. was by accused No. 1. He states that the said appeals came to be dismissed on 29.10.1999 on the ground that the Writ Petition has been allowed by this Court. Thereafter he states that after some time respondent Nos. 3 and 4 on coming to know from the rumour in the village that the writ appeal filed by accused No. 1 has been allowed and taken by surprise, as they had no intimation of filing of writ appeal, they approached him to ascertain the fact. Accordingly on his enquiry C.W. 2 came to know that in the said writ appeal a caveat is alleged to have been filed on behalf of the respondents and after recording the compromise petition, the Writ appeal filed by accused No. 1 has been allowed.
12.Similar is the evidence of C.W. 4 K, Rajendra, who was respondent No. 4 in the writ appeal. C.W. 5 Chandranath Ariga is a practising Advocate in this Court. According to him, in the month of August, 1999 accused No. 1 along with his Advocate, Sri Manohar came to him with a request to file a caveat petition in the writ appeal filed challenging the order in W.P.No. 17853/1993 and on enquiry certain papers were given to him with an assurance that accused No. 1 would come on the next day. According to this witness on the next day, when accused No. 1 came to his office, C.W. 5 informed him that there was no need for filing any caveat since there was a favourable order in respect of respondent Nos. 1 to 4. He further states that thereafter accused No. 1 informed him that since accused No. 1 himself and the respondents in the writ appeal have entered into a compromise and as they want to close the case at the admission stage itself, filing of caveat petition is necessary. He then states that accused No. 1 gave him a vakalath with 4 signatures purporting to be those of respondent Nos. 2 to 4, as these signatures on the vakalath were not attested and as there were no affidavit in support of the caveat petition, he informed his inability to file the caveat petition. Then he states that accused No. 1 took back the vakalath and informed him that he will get the signatures on the vakalath attested from an Advocate at Puttur and after few days, he returned back with the Vakalath attested by accused No. 2 Sri Yathindranath Rai, a practising Advocate at Puttur, whom C.W. 5 also knew. Having prima facie satisfied, C.W. 5 states that he filed the caveat petition and on 15.9.1999. When the writ appeal was posted for admission, he was present in Court along with Sri G.S. Visweshwara, a senior Advocate appearing on his behalf and Sri Manohar, Advocate, representing accused No. 1. He states that as per the instructions, he represented to the Court that the respondents intend to withdraw the Writ Petition as the matter has been settled between the parties.
13.Thereafter he states that in the first week of July, 2000, Sri Balakrishna Shastry, C.W.2 met him in the Court and made enquiries as to this Witness filing any caveat on behalf of respondent Nos. 1 to 5 in the writ appeal and this witness having affirmed the same. He states that when Sri Balakrishna Shastry informed him that respondent Nos. 1 to 4 have not in fact entered into any compromise with accused No. 1, it was a shock to him and as such immediately he contacted
14.According to him when C.P. 1362/2000 was taken up for consideration on 14.8.2000 along with C.P.No. 1047/2000 and after hearing the Counsel, the Court directed the Advocates to keep their parties present on the next day i.e., 11.9.2000. According to this witness on the next day i.e., 11.9.2000 the three persons who had appeared before the Court earlier to file compromise petition and whom he represented in the writ appeal did not appear but only accused No. 1 and C.Ws. 3 and 4 were present. This witness further states that when the Court asked him to identify as to whether C.Ws. 3 and 4 were the persons for whom he had appeared and filed the caveat and vakalath on their behalf and signed in the compromise petitioner, after looking at them he informed the Court that C.Ws. 3 and 4 were not the persons for whom he was engaged to appear. It is then he states that the Court also enquired with Sri Manohar, Advocate, as to the whereabouts of accused No. 1. According to this witness, accused No. 1 who was present throughout till then, by the time the Court was asking his whereabouts, he left the Court and as such Sri Manohar, Advocate, had to submit to the Court that accused No. 1 would be kept present at 2.30 p.m.
15.In the cross-examination, he has denied the suggestion that the accused did not come to his office for instructing regarding filing of the caveat petition. He has also stated that except attesting the signatures on the vakalath Ex.P. 8 and identifying the signature in the affidavit Ex.P.3, accused 2 has not played any more role.
16.CW-6 is Sri B. Manohar, advocate appearing on behalf of M/s. Shetty and Hegde Associates for the accused No. 1 in the writ appeal. He states that after fling of the writ appeal, in the 3rd week of 1999 the accused No. 1 approached him informing that the matter between himself and the contesting respondents 1 to 5 has been settled and the respondents have expressed their desire to withdraw the Writ Petition. In this regard, he stated that accused -1 wanted him to file a caveat petition on behalf of respondents 1 to 5 by engaging one of his colleagues. He has stated that as it was not possible for him to file caveat or his colleagues on behalf of the contesting respondents, as he has already appeared for the accused No. 1 and he suggested him to engage Sri G. Balakrishna Shastry who had already appeared for the respondents in the Writ Petition to which accused No. 1 informed him that it is not appropriate to engage Sri Shastry, Advocate as he has already appeared against him in other cases. 20.Accused -1 has examined himself as DW-1 and has stated that he is an agriculturist by profession and has studied upto 7th standard. That in the year 1998 he met one Sathyanaraya Bhat who is alleged to be the purchaser of the property involved in the Writ Petition and that the said Sathyanarayana Bhat wanted to settle the dispute between the parties. He further states that Sathyanarayana Bhat would bring respondents 1 to 5 to the High Court for the purpose of compromise and in this regard, he along with Sathyanarayana Bhat and respondents 1 to 5 went to the office of accused -2 Yathindranath Rai, Advocate at Puttur for the purpose of signing the compromise petition. He states that after the writ appeal proceedings were over, he received a telegram from Sri Shashi Kiran Shetty, advocate of M/s. Shetty and Hegde Associates to come over to Bangalore and meet him. He states that after his coming to Bangalore and coming to the office he met Sri Manohar, Jayakar S, Shashi Kiran Shetty and Sri Chandranath Ariga, Advocates, and all of them informed him that he had brought three different persons to impersonate respondents 2 to 4 in the writ appeal when the compromise was entered into between the parties.
21.In the cross-examination, he admits that he had stated before this Court in the sworn statement recorded on 17.11.2000 to the effect that:
" on the day of compromise was recorded original respondents 1 to 5 did not come to the Court and somebody impersonated them".
22.He denied the suggestion as to his going to the office of Chandranath Ariga, Advocate and getting filed a caveat through him.
23.Accused No. 2 has examined himself as DW-2. He states that he is a practising Advocate at Puttur since 20 years and accused-1 was one of his clients. He states that accused No. 1 had brought a vakalath filled up with the contents and he was asked to attest the signatures of the parties who were brought by the accused No. 1. According to this witness, accused -1 introduced the persons brought as his relatives and that they intend to file a compromise petition in the High Court. DW-2 further states that as he was not knowing respondents 1 to 4 personally he tried to ascertain the same as to the identity from accused -1 and in this regard, as accused-1 has assured orally as well as by giving a letter as to the identity of the persons who signed in his presence, believing the same, he has attested the signatures on the vakalath. He has produced the letter dated 30.8.1999 signed by the accused -1 giving assurance as to the identity of respondents 1 to 4 as per Ex.D.4
28.At the outset we would like to state that having regard to the entire fact scenario especially taking into consideration the entire evidence of both the sides, we do not find any role of accused-2 in impersonation, fabrication or helping the accused-1 in obtaining favourable order from this Court. Accused-2 being a practicing advocate for the last 20 years and who knew accused-1 being his client, in our view, has taken proper care and caution before attesting signatures on the vakalath Ex.P.8. He has stated before the Court that he has not only orally enquired with the accused as to the identity of the persons brought by accused-1 being respondents 2 to 5 but has also taken a letter from accused-1 as per Ex.D-4. The correctness or genuineness of Ex. D4 has not been disputed by Accused-1 which reads as follows:
As such accused-2 has taken sufficient precautions before attesting the signatures put in his presence on Ex.P8, it cannot be held that he has abated accused-1 in committing the criminal contempt. There is absolutely no allegation against this accused so far as the proceedings before this Court are concerned, wherein the major part of impersonation or fabrication etc., having taken place. As such, we find the prosecution has failed to establish to bring on the charge against accused-2 and hence, we drop the charges against accused-2.
29.In so far as accused-1 in concerned, before adverting to the evidence, we would like to remind ourselves to the law as laid down by the Apex Court in this regard. In the case of CHANDRA SHASHI v. ANIL KUMAR VERMA(Supra) Hon'ble Supreme Court has laid down thus;
"2. Anyone who takes recourse to fraud, deflects the course of judicial proceedings; or if anything is done with oblique motive, the same interferes with the administration of justice. Such persons are required to be properly dealt with, not only to punish them for the wrong done, but also to deter others from indulging in similar acts which shake the faith of people in the system of administration of justice.
34.Having considered the entire evidence it leaves no doubt in our mind that the accused-1 has tried to commit fraud on the Court by bringing persons to impersonate as the contesting respondents in the Writ appeal and thereafter, pursued the Court to accept the compromise petition as it the contesting parties has settled the matter and agreed for not only allowing the Writ Appeal but also to destroy the root or cause by virtue of the order directing the withdrawal of the Writ Petition. Hence, we find accused-1 guilty of criminal contempt as defined under Section 2(C) of the Act.
35.Apart from the aforesaid offence, the conduct of the accused before this Court is also worth noticing. In C.P. though he has admitted on oath on 17.11.2000 that three persons impersonated the real contesting respondents, in the Writ appeal, in this proceedings he has even denied the same and has stated that he has given a false statement in the C.P. when his sworn statement was being recorded. In our view, this act of the accused-1 apart from commission of contempt of Courts Act also amounts to commission of an offence of perjury.
36.Having given our anxious consideration as we find that the act of the accused-1 is very serious in nature, he deserves the maximum punishment as awardable under the Contempt of Courts Act. We hereby sentence the accused-1 to undergo SI for a term of six months as well as a fine of Rs. 2,000/- and in default of payment of fine shall undergo further SI for a further period of one month.
37.In this regard, the learned Counsel for the accused-1 contended that as the accused-1 was detained in pursuance of N.B.W. issued by this Court and was in detention for a period of 45 days, the same be given set off.
38.In our view. Section 428 cannot be applicable to the facts and circumstances of the case especially when the accused was not detained in the present contempt proceedings. He was directed to be arrested in C.P. in pursuance of his act of not attending the Court when specially directed by the Court and hence no set off can be given to the accused.
39.As the accused has been sentenced to under go imprisonment, we direct the Registrar (Judicial) to prepare a warrant of commitment and detention in form No. 3 as per Rule 16 of the contempt of Court Rules.
40.It is noted that though accused has a right of appeal and could have prayed for stay of our order, no such prayer is made. Hence we direct the Registrar to take accused No. 1 in custody and send him to prison along with warrant of committal.
41.Before closing, on enquiry, as we have come to the conclusion and firm opinion that apart from committing contempt of Court the accused-1 has also committed an offence of perjury punishable under Section 193 IPC committed in relation to proceedings of this Court. We direct the Registrar (Judicial) under Section 340(3)(b) Cr.P.C to file a complaint before the jurisdictional Magistrate in this reaged.
42.The register Ex.P. 25 produced by CW-5 is ordered to be returned to him under acknowledgment.
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