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Contempt of Court

  • Posted By
  • Categories
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    4th Aug, 2020
  • Contempt of court is a concept that seeks to protect judicial institutions from motivated attacks and unwarranted criticism, and as a legal mechanism to punish those who lower its authority.
  • Article 129 of the Constitution conferred on the Supreme Court the power to punish contempt of itself.
  • Article 215 conferred a corresponding power on the High Courts.
  • It is one of the restrictions on freedom of speech and expression under Indian Constitution
  • The punishment for contempt of court is simple imprisonment for a term up to six months and/or a fine of up to Rs. 2,000.
  • Civil contempt is committed when someone wilfully disobeys a court order, or wilfully breaches an undertaking given to court.
  • Criminal contempt consists of three forms:
    • Words, signs and actions that “scandalize” or “lower” the authority of any court.
    • Prejudices or interferes with any judicial proceeding.
    • Interferes with or obstructs the administration of justice.
  • Fair and accurate reporting of judicial proceedings and fair criticism on the merits of a judicial order after a case is heard and disposed of will not amount to contempt of court.
  • The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 was amended in 2006 to introduce truth as a valid defence against a charge of contempt, if it was in public interest and was invoked in a bona fide manner.

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