Spencer & Company Ltd. & Anr Vs. M/S. Vishwadarshan Distributors Pvt.
Ltd. & Ors  INSC 636 (6 December 1994)
M.M. Punchhi, M.M. Reddy, K. Jayachandra (J) Order Punchhi, J.:
1995 SCC (1) 259 JT 1995 (1) 113 1994 SCALE (5)93
has been said before, and needs to be said again, what we are about to through
this order, to strengthen the functional chains, which pull the judicial
machine to its destination, on the track laid by the Constitution.
have on our board special leave petitions nos. 12597-600 of 1993 against the
judgment and order dated 29th
April, 1993 of a
Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature at Madras passed in some C.M.P.s in O.S.A.
Nos.69-73 of 1993. These are at the instance of the first and the second
defendant in the original suit filed by the plaintiff- first respondent,
pending before a learned Single Judge of the High Court, in which in
intra-court appellate jurisdiction the petitioners have been subjected to
certain interim orders of significance by the Division Bench. This Court on 10-9-1993 ordered issuance of notice in the special leave
petitions as also on the application for stay returnable within four weeks. On
response, and consideration of the counter-affidavits filed by the respondents
and rejoinder affidavits by the petitioners, we had on 14-1 - 1994 passed the
the matter stand by three months. In the meantime, parties' counsel shall
approach the High Court for an early disposal of the O.S.A. Nos.69-73/1993
pending before it and apprise to us on the next date of hearing the result of
it. We have no doubt that the High Court when approached for the purpose would
give the matter due attention as expected by us."
order to await the outcome of the order we had kept the matter adjourned from
time to time when a Division Bench of the Madras High Court consisting of Hon'ble
Mr. Justice Gulab C. Gupta (now Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court)
and Hon'ble Mr: Justice K.A. Thanikkachalam passed on August 18, 115 1994 the following order:
applications are filed for fixing early heating of the appeal. The Order of the
Supreme Court dated 14-1-1994 in Special Leave Appeal (Civil) No.
12597600/93(AN) is produced before us to support the aforesaid prayer. We have
considered the matter with the seriousness it deserves; but find nothing
important so as to give precedence to the Appeals over large numbers of pending
appeals in this Court. The appellant must take his chance strictly in order in
which he approached this Court by filing these appeals.
applications are rejected."
Patently our order dated 14-1 - 1994 has been flouted, which is a matter of
grave concern to us. On our part what else is expected? It has obvious
ramifications, far and significant. We therefore have on our own solicited the
advice of the Solicitor General of India Mr. Dipankar P. Gupta,besides that of Mr. K. Parasaran, Senior
Advocate, the Ex-Attorney General of India, representing one of the parties
instantly, and Shri G.L. Sanghi, Senior Advocate appearing for the other
parties, as to what step need we take in respect of the Hon'ble but erring
Judges of the High Court. Conceivably our action has parameters ranging between
total apathy and punishment for contempt after initiating contempt proceeding.
They have, in all seriousness, in one voice, advised us to show at this
juncture judicial statesmanship, and let the present order go on record more as
a reminder and a message, traveling far and wide, less as a warning, solely to
uphold and preserve the independence and majesty of the Supreme Court, as the
highest Court of Justice in the Sovereign Republic of India;
pillar of the body politic, established under the Constitution, conferred with
plenary powers under Article 141,142 and 144 of the Constitution. We appreciate
and value their advice. We would rather remain advised on a matter like this,
for then we are on sure ground.
Article above referred to arc reproduced hereafter as a reminding exercise:
DECLARED BY SUPREME COURT TO BE BINDING ON ALL COURTS - The law declared by the
Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within the territory. of India." Article 142:
OF DECREES AND ORDERS OF SUPREME COURT AND ORDERS AS TO DISCOVERY, ETC. (1) The
Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make
such order as it necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter
pending before it, and any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable
throughout the territory Of India in such manner as may be prescribed by or
under any law made by Parliament and until provision in that behalf is so made,
in such manner as the President may by order prescribe.
Subject to the provisions of any law made in this behalf by Parliament, the
Supreme Court shall, as respects the whole of the territory of India, have all
and every power to make any order for the purpose of securing the attendance of
any person, the discovery or production of any documents, or the investigation
or punishment of any contempt of itself." Article 144:
AND JUDICIAL AUTHORI- 116
TO ACT IN AID OF THE SUPREME COURT. - All authorities, civil and judicial, in
the territory of India shall act in aid of the Supreme Court."
facie courtesy is the blend of our order of January 14, 1994. Outwardly it is neither commanding in nature nor
explicitly in terms of a direction. Such is not the sheen and tone of our
order, meant as it was, for a high constitutional institution, being. the High
Court. It comes from another high constitutional institution (this Court )
hierarchically superior in the corrective ladder. When one superior speaks to
another it is always in language sweet, soft and melodious; more suggestive than
language is always chaste.
Traditions and norms in this regard, well-established and followed in this
country since time immemorial, are best reflected in the 'Song Celestial', the Bhagavad
Gita. It would for the purpose be apposite to turn to the 18th Chapter of the Bhagavad
Gita,containing the concluding portion of the dialogue between Lord Krishna,
the Best of Beings, (Purushotamma) and Arjuna, the Best of Humans, (Narotamma),
both superiors in themselves. Verse 63 in the words of Lord Krishna is:
jnaanam akhyataam guhyad guhyataram maya vimrishayaitad eshneshena yathecchasi tatha
kuru TRANSLATION Thus I have explained to you the most confidential of all
knowledge. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.
ours) 8. Verse 73 containing the answering words of Arjuna is:
mohah smritir labdha tvat prasaddan mayachyuta sthito'smi gata-sandehah karishye
vachanam tava TRANSLATION O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have
regained my memory by Your mercy, and I am now firm and free from doubt and am
prepared to act according to Your instructions.(Emphasis ours)
Arjuna, the freedom given to act as he wished to, was an illusion; acting in
conformity with the instructions of Krishna a bounden duty. This message has perceptibly percolated down as part of
Indian Culture, philosophy and behavioral setting the tenor in the Constitution
for inter action between the high constitutional authorities and institutions.
One needs only to be aware of this thought with which the Constitution is
Recently, on a lesser aberration, this Court in M/s. Bayer India Ltd. and
others v. State of Maharashtra and others [1993(3) SCC 29] had
occasion to strike a sad note in the following words:
We are saddened to notice that in spite of the Court's request contained in
this order dated February
6, 1991, the High
Court has not disposed of the review petition till now. The High Court was
requested to dispose of the said writ petition within four months from the date
of the said order and, at any rate, by September 30, 1991. It is more than two years since
the order was made. While we certainly respect the independence of the High
Court and recognise that it is a 117 co-equal institution, we cannot but say,
at the same time, that the constitutional scheme and judicial discipline
requires that the High Court should give due regard to the-orders of this Court
which are binding on all courts within the territory of India. The request made
in this case was contained in a judicial order. It does no credit to either
institution that it has not been heeded to. We hope and trust that the delay in
the disposal of the review is either accidental or on account of some or other
procedural problem. Be that as it may, the present situation would not have
arisen if only the review petition had been disposed of within the time
contemplated in the order dated February 6, 1990.
"6. In this view of the matter, the I.A. is disposed of with the following
reiterate our request to the High Court to dispose of the review petition
expeditiously, at any rate within two months of this order.
case which we are dealing with is far more angular because there is a
deliberate and conscious obstruction, put and recorded by the Hon'ble Judges of
the High Court, even when the judicial order of this Court dated 14-1 - 1994
was before them, in support of the prayer for an early durated hearing of the
appeal. The case in hand is of a negative or reverse action, whereas M/s Bayer
India's case was barely of inaction, far less in gravity.
The afore-narrated words, we think, presently, are enough to assert the
singular constitutional role of this Court, and correspondingly of the
assisting role of all authorities, civil or judicial, in the territory of India, towards it, who are mandated by the Constitution to act in
aid of this Court. That the High Court is one such judicial authority covered
under Article 144 of the Constitution is beyond question. The order dated 14-1-1994 of this Court was indeed a judicial order and
otherwise enforceable throughout the territory of India under Article 142 of the
Constitution. The High Court was bound to come in aid of this Court when it
required the High Court to have its order worked out. The language of request oftenly
employed by this Court in such situations is to be read by the High Court as an
obligation, in carrying out the constitutional mandate, maintaining the writ of
this Court running large throughout the country.
Therefore, in these circumstances, we upturn the order of the High Court dated August 18, 1994 and reiterate our request to it to
dispose of O.S.A. Nos.6973 of 1993 expeditiously, at any rate now within one
month from the date of communication this Order, as this Court awaits the
result thereof. Orders be communicated to the High Court forthwith. Copies
thereof for information be also sent to the Hon'ble Judges of the Division
Bench with our utmost respect.
The special leave petitions be listed on January 31, 1995.