The Act provides :173
SEC. 7. Duties of bankrupts. - (a) The bankrupt shall
(2) Comply with all lawful orders of the court;
(3) Examine the correctness of all proofs of claims filed against his estate;
(4) Execute and deliver such papers as shall be ordered by the court;
(5) Execute to his trustee transfers of all his property in foreign countries;
(6) Immediately inform his trustee of any attempt, by his creditors or other persons, to evade the provisions of this Act, coming to his knowledge;
(7) In case of any person having to his knowledge proved a false claim against his estate, disclose that fact immediately to his trustee;
(8) Prepare, make oath to, and file in court within ten days, unless further time is granted, after the adjudication, if an involuntary bankrupt, and with the petition if a voluntary bankrupt, a schedule of his property, showing the amount and kind of property, the location thereof, its money value in detail, and a list of his creditors, showing their residences, if known, if unknown, that fact to be stated, the amounts due each of them, the consideration thereof, the security held by them, if any, and a claim for such exemptions as he may be entitled to, all in triplicate, one copy of each for the clerk, one for the referee, and one for the trustee; and
173. Bankr. Act 1898, SEC. 7.
(9) When present at the first meeting of his creditors, and at such other time as the court shall order, submit to an examination concerning the conducting of his business, the cause of his bankruptcy, his dealings with his creditors and other persons, the amount, kind, and whereabouts of his property, and, in addition, all matters which may affect the administration and settlement of his estate; but no testimony given by him shall be offered in evidence against him in any criminal proceeding.
Provided, however, That he shall not be required to attend a meeting of his creditors, or at or for an examination at a place more than one hundred and fifty miles distant from his home or principal place of business, or to examine claims except when presented to him, unless ordered by the court, or a judge thereof, for cause shown, and the bankrupt shall be paid his actual expenses from the estate when examined or required to attend at any place other than the city, town, or village of his residence.
The bankrupt must submit to examinations concerning his assets.
The bankrupt must "when present at the first meeting of his creditors, and at such other times as the
Court shall order, submit to an examination concerning the conducting of his business, the cause of his bankruptcy, his dealings with his creditors and other persons, the amount, kind and whereabouts of his property, and in addition, all matters which may affect the administration and settlement of his estate."
The right of examination under this section is very broad.174 " It is the duty of the bankruptcy court to see that such examinations are not permitted to transcend the limit of a legitimate investigation for these purposes; but of necessity this is a duty which involves the exercise of a wide discretion and which should not be interfered with by the appellate court except where it has been manifestly abused."175
Witnesses may be called in these examinations of the bankrupt and the latitude allowed in their examination is as broad as that allowed in examining the bankrupt.176 A refusal by such witnesses unless justifiable for some reason is contumacious and makes them subject to fine for contempt of court.177
We have seen the latitude allowed in the examination of a bankrupt. But the bankrupt still has his privilege against self incrimination.
To give a right to compel answers from him the act provided that "no testimony given by him shall be offered in evidence against him in any criminal proceeding." This provision did not have the effect of accomplishing the purpose meant for it because the Court held that though such evidence might not be used against him yet because of what it might suggest or lead to it might tend to incriminate him.178 And therefore, a bankrupt may still refuse answers of this 6ort. Yet in an indirect way the result of compelling him to testify in answer to such questions has been accomplished, that is, by refusing him his discharge, where he refuses to answer any material question approved by the Court. If he refuses to answer questions on the ground that the answers might tend to incriminate him, he cannot be compelled to answer, yet he may be refused his discharge in bankruptcy.
174. In re Horgan, 98 Fed. 414.
176. In re Lathrop, Haskins & Co. 184 Fed. 934; Ulmer v. U. S. 219 Fed. 641.
177. In re Lathrop, Haskins & Co. supra.
The Bankruptcy Act protects a bankrupt from arrest or detention except upon claims which are not released by a discharge, and even in such cases he shall not be arrested while in attendance upon the court of bankruptcy or engaged in the duties imposed by the bankruptcy law.
While imprisonment for debt is generally abolished, yet civil arrest is still possible under the various state laws in tort cases. Whenever any claim upon which arrest may be had is dischargeable in bankruptcy, bankruptcy proceedings give one protection against arrest and detention.179
For offenses committed against the Court of Bankruptcy, the bankrupt may be arrested.
178. In re Kanter & Cohen, 117 Fed. 356. The court said: "In a case where it clearly appears to the court that a party from whom evidence is sought contumaciously or mistakenly refuses to furnish that which cannot possibly injure him, he will not be permitted to shield himself behind the privilege, but generally the party best knows what he cannot furnish without accusing himself and where it is not perfectly evident and manifest that the evidence called for will not be incriminating, the privilege must be allowed."
179. In re Dresser, 124 Fed. 915; In re Lewensohn, 99 Fed. 73.