An Act to define and limit the powers of certain courts in punishing contempt of
courts and to regulate their procedure in relation thereto.
Legal History of Contempt of Courts
Prior to contempt of courts act 1926 the power of the court to punish for
contempt was felt to be uncontrolled power which was no doubt remedied by the
Act of 1926 and the amending Act 1937. Subsequently a committee was appointed to
examine the law pertaining to contempt of courts and as a result the present act
Types of Contempt
As per Section 2(9) contempt of courts means civil contempt and criminal
As per section 2(b) of the Act Civil Contempt means:
Wilful disobedience of any
judgement, decree, direction order writ or other processes of court or wilful
breach of an undertaking given to a court.
Accordingly section 2(c) of the Act criminal contempt means: The publication
whether by words spoken or written or by signs or by visible representation or
otherwise of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which;
i) Scandalizes or trends to scandalize or lowers or tends to lower the authority
of any court or prejudice or interfere or trends to interfere with the due
course of any judicial proceeding or interferes or trends to interfere with or
obstructs or trends to obstruct administration of justice in any other manner.
Proceedings under contempt of courts act are summary in nature. Contempt of
court is not an offence within the meaning of section 4(2) of Cr. P.C. Merits of
the matter need not be gone into a contempt proceeding. (V.G. Peterson v. O.V
Foreces) AIR 1963 SC 692.
Aim of Contempt Proceedings:
The aim is to deter men from offering any
indignities to a court of justice. Ramakrishna Reddy v. State of Madras
Kinds of ContemptThere are many kinds of contempt, the main forms of contempt are:
- Insult to Judges.
- Attack upon judge proceedings.
- Comment on pending proceedings with tendency to prejudice fair trial
obstruction to officers of courts, witnesses in the parties.
- Abusing the process of the court.
- Breach of duty by officers connected with the court and scandalizing the
judges of the courts.
The following are certain examples of contempt with decided important case
- Stay of proceedings disobeyed: When the superior courts order staying
proceedings is disobeyed by the inferior court the later court commits
contempt of court. Bardakanta Misra v. Bhimsel Dixit AIR 1972 SC 2466
- Speeches or Writings misrepresenting Court proceedings: Speeches or
Writings misrepresenting the proceedings of the court or prejudicing the
public or against a party or involving reflections on parties to a
proceeding amount to contempt of Court. Judge commenting in press about
pending case. Where a sessions Judge Comments in press and television about
the pending case it will amount to contempt of court. Subash Chand v. S.M.
Agarw. 1984 Cr. L. J. 481 (Delhi).
- Shouting at Court: By shouting at the court is belittling the dignities
of the court which cannot ever be permitted as that would hear a dwindling
of the faith of the public in affectionless of the system itself. It is
unwholesome one for any member of the bar to lose his temper and bring about
a situation in the public court which can afford justifiable interference to
be made of the action being voluntary and intended at lowering the prestige
of judiciary. State of A. P. v. Saetharamaiah 1996 (2) ALT 992.
- Advocate raising voice: An advocate raising voice in High pitch and
annoying magistrate even after waning will amount to contempt of
court. Mohamed Ali v. Prasanna AIR 1995 SC 454
- Forging order of court.
- Threatening writ petitioners.
- Police Officer obstructing execution of decree.
- Jail superintendent not releasing the accused in spite of the order of
- Filing of false affidavit will amount to criminal contempt. Afzal v. State
of Haryana AIR 1996 SC 2326.
Certain acts will not amount to contempt of court they are as follows Under
Section-7 a person shall not be guilty of contempt of court for publishing fair
and accurate report of a judicial proceeding or any state thereof.
It is open to anyone to express fair reasonable and legitimate criticism of any
act or conduct of a judge in his judicial capacity even to make a proper and
fair comment on any decision given by him. Innocent publication and distribution
of matter: Fair reporting regarding disposal of case and judgement of
journalists. Rama Oayal Markaraha v. State of M.P
. AIR 1978 SC 921.
Punishment for Contempt of Court Contempt of court may be punished with simple
imprisonment for a term which may extent to 6 months or with time which may
extend to Rs. 2000/- or with both. That the accused may be discharged or the
punishment awarded may be remitted on apology being made to the satisfaction of
Limitation for actions for Contempt
No court shall initiate any proceedings of contempt either on its own motion or
otherwise after the expiry of a period of one year from the date on which the
contempt have been committed.
- Jagadish singh and others v. T.C.Sharma.
- Babulal v. Subash Jain.
- Balaswaroopsoni v. Babulal soni.
- Indure Lt v. Deo Raj Gupta.
- Commissioner of Civil supplies and Consumer Protection Department v.
- A.Banumurthy v. Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh
- Dr.D.V.P.Raja v. Jayabalan.
- G.M.Hirmani v. Ishwarappa.
- N.S.(Appellant) v. N.V.(Respondent).
- P.R.(Complainant) v. V.I.(Respondent).
- Ashok kumar yadhav v. Bar council of India 19/1/2015.
- C. Ravichandran Iyer v. Justice A.M.Bhatterjee (Disciplinary power of
the bar council on conduct of the judge).
- Supreme Court Bar Association v. Union of India and others 17th April
- An Advocate v. Bar Council of India and another 0n 29th September 1998.
- D.P.Chadha v. Tiriyugi Narain Mishra and others 5th December 2000.
Selected cases relating to Professional misconduct and contempt of court
- Pawan Kumar Sharma v. Gurdial Singh (AIR 1999 SC 98)
- Mahabir Prasad Singh v. M.s Jacks Aviation Pvt.Ltd. (AIR 1999 SC 287)
- Supreme Court Bar Association v. Union of India ( AIR 1998 SC 1895)
- P.D.Gupta v. Ramamurthy (AIR 1998 SC 283)
- Robtas Singh v. Commissioner Agra Division. (AIR 1997 SC 278)
- Harish Chander Singh v. S.N.Tripathi. (AIR 1997 SC 879)
- Hikmatali Khan v. Iswar Prasad Aiye. (AIR 1997 SC 864)
- Prahalad Saran Gupta v. Bar Council of India (AIR 1997 SC 1338)
- Dr.Haniraj L Chusani v. Bar Council of Maharashtra ( AIR 1996 SC 1708)
- In re Saxena and U.Saxena v. Hon’ble Chief Justice of India (AIR 1996 SC
- Sambhu Ram Yadhav v. Hanuman Das Khatry (2001 16 SCC 165).
- B.M.Verma v. Uttarkhand Regulatory Commission Appeal No.156 of 2007.
- R.K.Anand v. Registrar of Delhi High Court (2009 85 SCC 106).
- Harish Uppal v. Union of India 2003 (1) ACC MR (SC) 1169.
- J.S. Jadhav Mustafa v. Haji Mohammed Yusuf (AIR 1993 SC 1608).
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Mohd Aqib Aslam
Authentication No: SP26211584989-18-920