HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE C.V. NAGARJUNA REDDY C.C.No.1563 of 2014 19-12-2014 S. Narsimha Rao.. Petitioner Mr. P. Arun Babu,Revenue Divisional Officer,Narsaraopet Division,(presently Gurazala Division),Guntur District and another.. Respondents

HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE C.V. NAGARJUNA REDDY        

C.C.No.1563 of 2014

19-12-2014

S. Narsimha Rao.. Petitioner

Mr. P. Arun Babu,Revenue Divisional Officer,Narsaraopet Division,(presently
Gurazala Division),Guntur District and another.. Respondents

Counsel for petitioner : Sri P.S.P. Suresh Kumar

Counsel for respondents : Sri D. Ramesh, Special Government Pleader, State of
Andhra Pradesh.

<GIST:

>HEAD NOTE:  

?CASES REFERRED:    
1.(2002) 4 SCC 21
2.(1993) 2 SCC 533

HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE C.V. NAGARJUNA REDDY        
C.C.No.1563 of 2014
Date : 19-12-2014

The Court made the following :

JUDGMENT:  
        This Contempt Case is filed complaining of wilful disobedience of
order dated 28-10-2013 in W.P.No.33299 of 2011.
        The facts leading to the filing of this Contempt Case are briefly
stated hereunder :
        The petitioner filed W.P.No.33299 of 2011 for a mandamus to
declare the action of respondent No.2 in allegedly instructing him orally
not to enter the land admeasuring Ac.2-00 in Sy.No.756/1 of Nadikudi
village, Dachepalli Mandal, Guntur District (for short the subject land)
and in threatening him with forcible dispossession from the same, as
arbitrary and unconstitutional.  The petitioner pleaded in the said Writ
Petition that he is a landless poor person and therefore he was granted
DKT patta bearing D.K.No.72/1409F dated 15-12-1999 over the subject
land and that he was also issued pattadar passbook and title deed in
respect of the said land.  The petitioner further pleaded that based on the
assignment and the pattadar passbook, he has obtained a loan of
Rs.40,000/- from the Andhra Bank, Nadikudi branch and also received
compensation of Rs.6,000/- towards loss of crop.  That on 13-12-2011,
respondent No.2 has visited the petitioners land and orally instructed
him not to enter the land.
        One Rajanala Kotagiri filed WPMP No.44770 of 2012 for
impleading him in the Writ Petition wherein he has averred that the
subject land is proposed to be assigned to him for industrial purpose.  By
order dated 28-10-2013, this Court ordered the said implead application
by adding him as respondent No.4.
        A counter-affidavit was filed in the Writ Petition wherein
respondent No.2 inter alia averred that the subject land was not assigned
to any one as it is unassessed waste covered with quarry pits and unfit
for cultivation; that the Andhra Bank, Nadikudi branch appeared to have
sanctioned loan to the petitioner without being aware of the fabricated
nature of the alleged assignment; and that the crop loss compensation of
Rs.6000/- was paid by his predecessor by oversight and the same was a
mistake.
     The petitioner filed a reply affidavit, along with which he has also
filed show cause notice dated 26-11-2011 issued by respondent No.2
wherein it was alleged that the petitioner was holding a fake DKT patta
issued by one Haji Sahib, the then Mandal Revenue Officer, Dachepalli
and that as per the records of respondent No.2 neither DKT patta nor
pattadar passbooks were incorporated therein.
        After a detailed hearing, this Court disposed of the Writ Petition
by order dated 28-10-2013.  The material part of the order passed in the
Writ Petition reads as under:
        From the facts and the material discussed above, it is evident
that the petitioner is basing his right on a purported DKT patta
and also pattadar pass book and title deed issued in his favour
based on such DKT patta.  Though there is blanket denial of such
grant, the fact that respondent No.3 has issued show cause notice
on 26-11-2011 fortifies the plea of the petitioner that he is
claiming his right over a DKT patta.  The counter-affidavit is
silent on the issue of show cause notice and the order if any that
may have been passed thereon.
        Inasmuch as the petitioner holds pattadar pass book and title
deed, the plea of respondent No.3 that the land is vacant and not
in anyones possession cannot be accepted.  The DKT patta and
the pattadar pass book held by the petitioner would give rise to a
reasonable presumption that he is in possession of the subject
land.  Therefore, unless appropriate proceedings are initiated and
an order on the authenticity or otherwise of the DKT patta is
passed after enquiry, the petitioners possession cannot be
interfered with by the respondents.
        For the above mentioned reasons, the writ petition is allowed
by directing the respondents not to dispossess the petitioner
without holding an enquiry, wherein he shall be given an
opportunity of being heard, and passing an order of eviction.
       
        In this Contempt Case, the petitioner alleged that after disposal of
the Writ Petition, respondent No.2 has issued notice dated 27-1-2014
directing him to appear in person in the Tahsildars office and submit his
explanation; that in response thereto, the petitioner has submitted his
explanation and that thereafter the petitioner has received notice dated
5-2-2014 from respondent No.1 directing him to appear on 22-2-2014
along with his explanation.  It is further averred that the said notice was
received by the petitioner on 25-2-2014; that accordingly he has rushed
to the office of respondent No.1 on the same day and submitted a written
explanation wherein he has stated that as he has received the notice only
on 25-2-2014, he could not be present before respondent No.1 on
22-2-2014; that along with the explanation, he has enclosed DKT patta,
pattadar passbook etc., and that thereafter, no enquiry was held by
respondent No.1. The petitioner further averred that when he was
ploughing the land on 5-9-2014, the Revenue Inspector and the Deputy
Tahsildar came to the subject land and threatened him to vacate the
subject land; that while the petitioner was resisting the officials, Rajanala
Kotagiri, respondent No.4 in the Writ Petition, has planted a board
showing that the subject land belongs to the Government and that
trespassers will be prosecuted.  The petitioner has questioned this action
in this Contempt Case by pleading that unless a detailed enquiry is held
and an appropriate order is passed as directed by this Court, the
respondents are not entitled to interfere with the petitioners possession
of the subject land and plant the board and that the action of the
respondents constitutes blatant violation of the order of this Court.
        Respondent No.1 filed a counter-affidavit wherein he has inter alia
referred to the notice issued by the Tahsildar and the explanation
submitted by the petitioner.  He also referred to a purported report dated
4-2-2014 of respondent No.2.  Respondent No.1 has averred that after
receipt of the said report from respondent No.2, with a view to give
opportunity of personal hearing to the petitioner, he has issued notice
dated 5-2-2014 informing the petitioner that he should attend enquiry in
person on 22-2-2014 with a written explanation; and that the petitioner
has given his written explanation dated 25-2-2014 wherein he has stated
that the subject land was assigned to him.  Respondent No.1 has alleged
that the petitioner has not attended the enquiry and that he has
accordingly failed to avail the opportunity of personal hearing given to
him.  That based on the material available on record and the report of
respondent No.2, it was pleaded that no assignment was made in favour
of the petitioner and accordingly the pattadar passbook and title deed
which were issued earlier were cancelled by respondent No.1 vide order
dated 3-3-2014.  Respondent No.1 further averred that plenty of
opportunity of personal hearing was given to the petitioner before
passing the order dated 3-3-2014 in compliance with the order dated 28-
10-2013 of this Court in W.P.No.33299 of 2011 and that he has strictly
implemented the said order of this Court.
        The petitioner has filed a reply affidavit wherein he has inter alia
alleged that respondent No.1 has intentionally delayed sending of the
notice through registered post by ante-dating the same and that with a
view to allot the land to respondent No.4, the respondents have
deliberately avoided holding of enquiry.
        I have heard Sri P.S.P. Suresh Kumar, learned Counsel for the
petitioner and Sri D. Ramesh, learned Special Government Pleader,
office of the learned Advocate-General of Andhra Pradesh and perused
the record.
        Before proceeding further, it needs to be clarified that this Court
does not intend to pronounce upon the authenticity or otherwise of the
DKT patta claimed by the petitioner.  This aspect needs to be examined
by the appropriate forum if the petitioner institutes any legal proceeding
against order dated 3-3-2014 of respondent No.1. Therefore, the scope of
consideration of the dispute arising in this Contempt Case is limited to
examining whether respondent No.1 has deliberately and wilfully
violated the order of this Court.
        From the order dated 28-10-2013 passed in W.P.No.33299 of
2011, it is clear that this Court has directed the respondents to determine
the authenticity or otherwise of the DKT patta and the pattadar
passbooks under which the petitioner is claiming his right over the
subject land by holding an enquiry wherein he shall give the petitioner
an opportunity of being heard.  The respondents were also directed not to
evict the petitioner from the subject land without holding such enquiry
and passing an order.  That respondent No.1 has correctly understood the
said order is evident from the fact that he has sent notice dated 5-2-2014
to the petitioner in pursuance of the order passed by this Court in the
Writ Petition.  In the said notice, while requiring the petitioners
presence on 22-2-2014 before him, respondent No.1 informed the
petitioner that if he fails to attend the enquiry on that day along with
records, further action will be taken based on the records available in his
office.  Respondent No.1 has not disputed the fact that the notice sent by
him was received by the petitioner only on 25-2-2014 i.e., 3 days after
the scheduled date of enquiry.  Indeed, along with the counter-affidavit,
respondent No.1 himself has filed a copy of the acknowledgement,
which clearly shows that the petitioner has received the notice of enquiry
only on 25-2-2014.  In his order dated 3-3-2014, respondent No.1 has
referred to the written reply dated 25-2-2014 of the petitioner.  A copy of
the said reply is filed by the petitioner along with the Contempt Case. It
is specifically mentioned by the petitioner in the said written reply that
he was unable to attend the enquiry fixed for 22-2-2014 as he has
received the notice only on 25-2-2014.
        It is thus clear from these admitted facts that respondent No.1 is
well aware of the fact that due to delayed service of notice on the
petitioner, the latter was unable to attend the enquiry fixed for 22-2-
2014.  Still, respondent No.1 has not thought it fit to hold enquiry by
fixing another date.  In his counter-affidavit, respondent No.1 has clearly
stated that with a view to give the petitioner an opportunity of personal
hearing, he has issued notice dated 5-2-2014 fixing the enquiry on 22-2-
2014.  This being so, respondent No.1 failed to give any reasons as to
why he did not hold enquiry on his coming to know that the petitioner
has received the notice much after 22-2-2014.  Far from explaining his
conduct in not holding enquiry, he has the audacity to plead in
paragraph-4 of his counter-affidavit that he has given plenty of
opportunity (sic: opportunities) of personal hearing to the petitioner
before passing order dated 3-3-2014.  In the concluding paragraph of the
counter-affidavit, respondent No.1 further reiterated the said plea by
claiming that he has strictly implemented the order of this Court and
passed the order after duly giving the opportunity of personal hearing to
the petitioner.  This plea of respondent No.1 is an utter falsehood.
Having admitted the fact that the enquiry notice was received by the
petitioner only on 25-2-2014, respondent No.1 made a false claim that
plenty of opportunity of personal hearing was given to the petitioner.
His defence in the Contempt Case is thus a mere subterfuge.
        What baffles this Court is when respondent No.1 received the
petitioners reply on 25-2-2014 stating that he has received the enquiry
notice much after the date fixed for the enquiry has expired, respondent
No.1 went ahead with the passing of the order on 3-3-2014.  It passes
ones comprehension as to why respondent No.1 did not think it fit to
hold an enquiry as directed by this Court, at least after 25-2-2014 and
before he has passed the order on 3-3-2014.  This conduct of respondent
No.1 clearly demonstrates that he has shown scant respect for the order
of this Court and evidently acted at the behest of respondent No.4 in the
Writ Petition with a pre-conceived mind that an order adverse to the
interests of the petitioner must be passed without holding any enquiry.
Regrettably, at least when the Contempt Case was filed, respondent No.1
did not realise his contumacious conduct.  Instead of retracing his steps
and taking remedial measures by requesting this Court to give him one
more opportunity to comply with the order of this Court, he has come
out with a blatantly false plea that he has given the petitioner plenty of
opportunity.  This conduct of respondent No.1 proves that he is not
feeling remorse or penitence.  Except stating that he has great respect
towards this Court, he has not even tendered an apology for his
reproachable conduct.  He has asserted and reiterated in his counter-
affidavit that he has not violated the order of this Court.  Respondent
No.1 has not even furnished a faade of explanation as to why he did not
hold enquiry inspite of specific direction issued by this Court.
        From the uncontroverted facts of the case, I have no doubt
whatsoever that respondent No.1 has deliberately and wilfully violated
the order of this Court by passing an order on 3-3-2014 without holding
any enquiry and making his subordinates to interfere with the
petitioners possession of the land.  This action on the part of respondent
No.1 is in the teeth of the direction issued by this Court in
W.P.No.33299 of 2011.  Therefore, I hold respondent No.1 is guilty of
wilful disobedience of the order of this Court and accordingly convict
him under Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 for having
committed contempt of Court.
     As regards the sentence to be imposed on respondent No.1, I have
given my thoughtful consideration to the same.  Dealing with a case of
brazen contempt, the Supreme Court, in Anil Ratan Sarkar Vs. Hirak
Gosh , held :
     In the contextual facts there cannot be any laxity, as
otherwise the law courts would render themselves unless (sic:
useless) and their order to utter mockery.  Feeling of confidence
and proper administration of justice cannot but be the hallmark
of Indian jurisprudence and contra-action by courts will lose its
efficacy.  Tolerance of law courts there is, but not without limits
and only upto a certain point and not beyond the same.
       
     In B.M. Bhattacharjee (Major General) Vs. Russel Estate
Corporation , the Supreme Court observed that all the officers of the
Government must be presumed to know that under the constitutional
scheme obtaining in this country orders of the Courts have to be obeyed
implicitly and that orders of the Apex Court  for that matter any Court
should not be trifled with.
     The Court is the last resort for a vexed litigant.  The fabric of rule
of law will remain strong so long as judicial orders are implemented in
their letter and spirit.  The Courts being sentinels of justice, the orders
passed by them need to be implemented at all costs.  Protection of rights
of the citizens cannot be ensured if the State and its functionaries violate
orders of the Courts with impunity.  The majesty of Courts is the highest
priority for every right thinking person in the society, lest, there will be
anarchy in the system. If a judicial order is violated, it has a rippling
effect on the dignity and the glory of the judicial institution, which in
turn will make the people lose faith in the system itself.
     As noted above, respondent No.1 is remorseless.  By his conduct,
respondent No.1 has seriously undermined the majesty of this Court.
Therefore, I feel that it is a fit case where he must be sentenced with
simple imprisonment for a period of one week, besides paying a fine of
Rs.2000/-.  Ordered accordingly. The conviction and sentencing of
respondent No.1 shall be recorded in his Service Register.
     The Registrar (Judicial) shall take further steps as laid down under
Rule 31 of the Contempt of Courts Rules, 1980 for execution of this
order.
         The Contempt Case stands disposed of allowed.

____________________________    
Justice C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy

Date : 19-12-2014

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