Kumar & ANR. Vs. State A.P. & Ors.  INSC 312 (27 April 2010)
APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO.3607 OF 2002 S. Sharat Kumar and Anr.
...Appellant(s) Versus State of Andhra Pradesh and Ors. ...Respondent(s) O R D
E R This civil appeal arises out of an order passed by the High Court of
Judicature, Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad in Suo Motu Contempt Case No.974 of
1999 dated 19th February, 2002. By the impugned order, the High Court held that
the appellants have committed act of contempt under the provisions of Contempt of Courts
Act, 1971, read with Article 215 of the Constitution
of India and sentenced each of them to one month's simple imprisonment.
However, in the interest of justice, the High Court has observed that the
sentence shall remain suspended for a period of one year. It further observed
that if, during the period of one year, the contemnors are punished again in a
contempt proceeding, the order sentencing them shall become operative
if they are not convicted for contempt during the period of one year, the
sentence of imprisonment awarded against them shall not be carried out.
Court, while entertaining the special leave petition, granted an interim order
in favour of the appellants. That interim order is still in operation.
time of hearing of the civil appeal, the contemnors have filed affidavits. In
that affidavits they have offered unconditional apology for having written the
controversial news items in one of the newspapers. The contemnors are advocates
and they were also journalists at the relevant point of time.
into consideration the unconditional apology offered by them, in our opinion,
the sentence of imprisonment imposed on the appellants by the High Court
requires to be set aside. Accordingly, we take the affidavits filed by the two
contemnors on record and set aside the conviction and sentence imposed on them
by the High Court. We hope and trust that the contemnors shall not commit the
contempt again and shall not write any articles in any newspapers, which would
not only bring down their prestige but also the prestige of the Institution.
appeal is, accordingly, allowed.
......................J. [H.L. DATTU]
......................J. [K.S. RADHAKRISHNAN]
April 27, 2010.