Contempt of Court

Contempt of court can be defined as the act of not obeying an order made by the court or showing a lack of respect to the judge or court. In simple words, contempt of court is disrespect to the court of law. A judge can levy sanctions or penalty to someone for being disobedience to or disrespectful towards the court of law. The power to punish for contempt of court lies in Article 129 for Supreme Court and Article 215 for High Court. The power to punish for contempt of Subordinate Court lies in the hand of High Court under the Act of 1971. In India, the contempt of court can be classified into two types:

1. Civil Contempt – This is under Section 2(b) of the contempt of Courts act, 1971. Civil contempt has been defined as the willful disobedience to the authority of court in civil matter such as any judgement, decree, direction, order or any writ. The accused held in civil contempt are given notice of the contempt sanctions and an opportunity to be heard. Also, there contempt does not need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Most of the civil contempt often occurs indirectly i.e., outside the presence of the court.

2. Criminal Contempt – This Is under Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts act, 1971. Criminal contempt is defined as the publication whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visual representation, or otherwise of any matter or the doing of any other act which scandalizes or lowers the authority of court, interferes in the judicial proceedings of court or interfere with administration of justice in any other manner. The person charged with the offence of criminal contempt may result in imprisonment.

There are few exceptions to contempt of court. Section 13(a) of the constitution says that any person can not be punished for contempt of court if it is satisfied that contempt is of such nature that it doesn’t interfere with the due course of justice. Section 13(b) of the constitution says that the court has every right to give the defence of justification of truth if it is for the interest of the public. Also, Section 20 the contempt of courts act, 1971 talks about the limitation period within which the action can be taken.

Recently, Prashant Bhushan’s contempt of court case was very highlighted in media. Prashant Bhushan had tweeted an old picture of CJI in which he was seen sitting on a high-end motorcycle. Another tweet was about the role of last four Chief Justice of India in the context of the state affairs in the country. The SC founded Prashant Bhushan’s tweet as contempt of court and punished him either with a fine of Re 1 or go to jail. The sole purpose of Contempt of court is to uphold the dignity of law. If by contentious words or by writing, the common man is led to disrespect the judiciary, then the confidence reposed in the court is rudely shaken, therefore the offender needs to be punished.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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