The Karnataka High Court has convicted a litigant for contempt for hurling footwear at a judicial officer.
Taking note of the district judge report, the Chief Justice of the High Court had initiated contempt proceedings against BM Shivanna.
In his reply, apart from apologizing, he contended that for the same act, on the complaint of the magistrate he is being tried for the offences punishable under Ss. 228, 186, 353 and 355 IPC and in view of S.10 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. If the act complained constitutes an offence punishable under any provision of the Indian Penal Code, the high court cannot take cognizance and conduct proceedings and therefore the contempt be dropped.
The high court bench of Justice Budhilal RB and Justice KS Mudaga observed that the act constituting an offence under S.228 Indian Penal Code does not bar an action for contempt of court. Referring to various precedents, the bench said that contempt of court is not limited to the offering of insult to the judge or interruption to the judicial proceedings but it would include any act by a person which would either scandalize the court or tend to interfere with the administration of justice, therefore the act constituting an offence under S.228 Indian Penal Code does not bar an action for contempt of court.
Referring to his apology affidavit, the court said that there is a clear admission on the part of the accused about him throwing the footwear towards the presiding judge.
Even if unfavourable orders are passed the litigants have to seek relief with regard to such orders in accordance with the procedure established by law and not by such extra-legal methods, the bench said.
“The very fact of the accused throwing the footwear before the Officer passing the order goes to show that he intended to obstruct the Officer from passing the order and lower the authority of the Court and scandalize the Judge. The incident has happened in the presence of the litigants, advocates and staff. The conduct of the accused is a brazen act of scandalizing the Court, lowering the authority of the Court, interference in the due course of judicial proceedings and obstruction to the administration of justice,” the court said while sentencing him to simple imprisonment for four months and fine of Rs. 2,000.