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Demystifying Contempt of Court

Contempt can be understood in a very straightforward way as an act of denigration, disgrace, and mockery of a particular authority or an institution. Contempt of court is an act of showing disgrace or disrespect towards the administration of law and to the authority. During the last few years, the law of contempt has grown at a very rapid pace.

During these times, the Judges are dealing with the problems of the jurisdiction in the contempt of court so they had to alter and make some changes in the contempt of court. Several studies were conducted in which it was found that these studies were dependent upon the assumption that all of us should adjust to the contempt court rules and regulations and it is unnecessary to determine the evolution or historical analysis of contempt court rules. However, we can adopt many measures from the concept of contempt and its historical development.

An Advocate is supposed to pay respect to the judiciary in every possible way. The relationship between Bar and Bench goes hand in hand when it comes to giving respect to one another. But, it is the of an Advocate to fight for the rights of their client and provide justice for the same to them. It is not only the duty of an Advocate but also a layperson to show courtesy towards the court.

In India, there is a discrete law to maintain the decorum inside the court which is the Contempt of Court Act, 1971. This research paper has all the components which include different types of contempt of court, what procedure an individual needs to follow when filing for contempt of court, all the relevant case laws regarding the contempt of court all the suggestions on this topic.

Introduction:
If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.- Louis D. Brandeis

Contempt, according to Oswald, is described as any behavior that appears to ignore or neglect the authority and administration of the law, or to interfere with or bias parties or their witnesses
Something that restricts or restricts the scope of judicial trials must inevitably obstruct the operation of justice and interfere with the proper process of justice.

This is a clear case of History Of Contempt Of Court In India:

The term contempt of court is derived from English law. When the British ruled India, the three High Courts of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras had the inherent authority to fine for contempt under the Indian High Courts Act of 1861.

The Contempt of Court Act of 1926 was the country's first bill dealing with the law of contempt. Section 2 explains that all High Courts have the authority to punish for contempt of them and that the

High Court has the authority to punish for contempt of courts inferior to it. The Act included much of British India, including the princely states of Hyderabad, Madhya Bharat, Mysore,Rajasthan, Travancore-Cochin, Saurashtra, and Pepsu and they were having their own corresponding state enactments on contempt.[1]

Following that, the Act of 1926 was repealed and replaced by the Contempt of Courts Act of 1952, which specified the authority of the High Court, which was not covered by the earlier Act of 1926. Chief Courts were also given the authority to try and prosecute those who violated them under this law.

After a long struggle for independence, a Bill was presented in the Lok Sabha on April 1, 1960, to change the current statute of contempt of court, which was vague, ambiguous, and unsatisfactory. In 1961, the government agreed to examine the legislation and review the bill, and constituted the Sanyal Committee, which was chaired by Shri H.N. Sanyal.(Additional Solicitor General of India).In 1963, the committee issued a report that described the restricted powers of some courts in punishing for contempt of court, mentioning criminal contempt and proposing the "procedure (to be followed) in case of criminal contempt of court." 'The'

After extensive consultation with all states, union territory administrations and other stakeholders, the Committee's recommendation was adopted by the government. The bill was then reviewed by the Houses of Parliament's Joint Select Committee, which recommended a few amendments to the bill, including a modification to the statute of limitations for bringing contempt proceedings.

The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 (70 of 1971) came to be enacted and replaced the prior Act of 1952. The Act of 1952 categorizes the contempt of court under two heads, civil contempt, and criminal contempt.

Conceptual development or conceptual framework:
According to Kelson's principle, every nation has a basic rule known as the GRUND NORM of that country. In India, there is also a constitutional law known as The India's Constitution. Our Constitution's Third Part Details Fundamental Rights. In terms of Art.19(1), a taboo called Contempt Of Court prohibits freedom of speech and expression. It means that if anyone crosses the line of the taboo, the law would not allow it. We cannot overlook the fact that Freedom Of Speech And Expression is a pre-requisite for a civilized society to be democratic, but the integrity and purity of the COURT must be safeguarded.
Not only lawyers, but all people who work in the field of SPEECH and EXPRESSION, such as students, journalists, and newscasters, can overstep their bounds.

Essentials of Contempt of Court:
  • In the case of Civil Contempt, disobedience to some kind of court proceeding, including its rulings, judgments, decrees, and so on, should be done 'willfully.'
  • The most critical aspect of criminal contempt is ˜publication,' which may take the form of spoken or written sentences, gestures, or visual representation.
  • The court should issue a "legal warrant," which should be in the respondent's "intelligence."
  • Contemnory behavior should be intentional, as well as a direct disdain for the court's order.
Contempt under Indian Constitution:
The definition of contempt of court is specified in India under Section 2(a) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, which narrowly defines it as civil or criminal contempt.
Article 129of the Indian Constitution andArticle 142(2)of the Indian Constitution both deal with contempt of court.

Article 129
According to Article 129, the Supreme Court is the Court of Record, with all of the privileges that such courts have, including the ability to fine for contempt of court. Now that we understand what the term "Court of Record" means, we can see why something said incorrectly in opposition to a court's ruling is considered contempt of court. The answer to this question can be found here. The term "Court of Record" refers to a court that has its actions and actions recorded for eternal memory, or continuity without end, as well as facts or proof.

The accuracy of these documents cannot be doubted, and they are therefore considered as authoritative. And something said in defiance of the accuracy of these documents was considered contempt of court.

Article 215:
High Courts to be courts of record.”Every High The court shall be a court of record and shall have all the powers of such a court including the power to punish for contempt of itself.

Article 142(2)
The term "contempt of court" is also used in this thread. This Article states that when the Parliament passes a law containing the clauses mentioned in clause 1 of this Article, the Supreme Court has complete authority to issue an order requiring anyone's presence, submission of certain records, or penalty for contempt.

This does not mean that since the Supreme Court has the authority to punish for contempt of court, it may do something that violates the right of personal liberty. We recognize that it is the protector of all the rights that we have under the Indian Constitution, so it must protect these rights and cannot infringe on them.

The Interpretation Clause is found in Section 2 of the Act. That is how contempt of court is described. Contempt of The court is described in Section 2(a) as any Civil or Criminal Contempt. It implies that there isn't any.
In this description, every straight jacket formula is stated.

The essence of the term is inclusive. It seems to imply that:
  1. There are two forms of contempt of court: civil and criminal
  2. Civil or criminal in nature Following that, Sections 2(b) and 2(c) define Civil Contempt and Criminal Contempt, respectively.
Civil Contempt:
Civil Contempt, according to Section 2(a) of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971, is described as willful disobedience to a Court's order, decision, direction, judgment, or writ, or willful violation of undertakings provided to a Court. Since Civil Contempt deprives a person of the gain for which the order was issued, these are private-type offenses. In other words, a person who is entitled to the benefit of a court order is often subjected to wrongdoing.

An individual should be aware of a case involving an intentional violation of a court orderbb[2b]Utpal Kumar Das v. Court of the Munsiff, Kamrup

This is an example of failure to provide help even though the court has directed it. The court issued a decree requiring the defendant to produce immovable property, but the defendant refused to do so due to some obstacles. As a result, he was found guilty of disobedience to the orders of the competent Civil Court.

Another case involves a violation of an agreement that results in contempt of court.

U.P. Resi. Emp. Co-op., House B. Society v. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority[3]
The Supreme Court has ordered the authorities in Noida to check and state on the affidavit information provided by people for plot allotment. An individual named Mr. S filed a false affidavit to deceive the court by the same Supreme Court directive. The Registry sent a show-cause notice to him, requesting that he explain why he could not be charged with contempt of court for misleading the Supreme Court.

Defenses to Civil Contempt:
The following defenses are available to those convicted of Civil Contempt of Court:
  • The act of provocation or violation may not be:
    If anyone is pleading this defense, he or she may claim that the crime was not done willfully, that it was just an error, or that it was beyond their influence. However, this plea will only be accepted if it is considered to be reasonable; otherwise, the plea will be dismissed.
     
  • Orders can be interpreted in a variety of ways:
    If the court declares contempt of a judgment and the ruling tends to grant more than one reasonable and rational interpretation and the respondent adopts one of those interpretations and behaves by it, he will not be held responsible for contempt.
     
  • It's difficult to be in control of the situation:
    If complying with the warrant is impractical or difficult, it would be considered a defense in the event of contempt of court. However, it is important to distinguish between impossibility and simple difficulties. Since this defense can only be used if carrying out an order is impossible.

    Criminal Contempt
    This is a rather dangerous crime. Criminal contempt occurs when a Judicial Officer is handcuffed, arrested, or assaulted by police officers. Citizens would lose confidence in courts if any judicial official is lured into a pit by dishonest police officers and allowed to be attacked, handcuffed, and roped, which will be harmful to any politically constituted society's fundamental framework. If this is allowed, the rule of law will be replaced by police raj, and any such occurrence will not be treated as a case of physical harassment on a single judicial officer, but rather as an attack on the judiciary as a whole.

    Under Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971[4], criminal contempt has been defined as the publication of any matter or the doing of any other acts whatsoever which:
    1. [5]Scandalises or tends to scandalize, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court, or
    2. Prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with the due course of any judicial proceeding, or
    3. Interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner


    There are certain exceptions of criminal defamation and these are:
  • If anything is published in good faith and for the public good, it cannot be considered defamation
  • A individual cannot be held accountable if he touches any public questions.
  • If the records of the court's hearings are being released

Methodology
The paper's methodology is entirely secondary in nature. The report is focused on secondary sources and will be checked by separate and credible investigative entities in the System based on court orders.

Discussion and Limitations:
Criticism is an essential component of the world's modernizing societies, especially in those parts of the world where people have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and where the judiciary, as the provider of justice, is not kept out of that realm. Fair criticism of judicial acts is not contempt, according to Section 5 of the Act, and an individual would not be held liable for publishing any fair and reasonable comment on the merits of a case that has already been heard and determined. The only thing that people should be concerned with is that the commentary that is written is honest and does not contain false allegations, since this will be an abuse of authority

Limitations
The limitation for a contempt suit is dealt with in Section 20 of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971. It states that no court can begin contempt proceedings until one of the following requirements is met:
  • Either the proceedings are on his own motion, or,
  • After the period of one year from the date on which the contempt is alleged to have been committed
Results
The media has a huge impact on how the public perceives news and opinions. It serves as a fourth pillar in a democratic society like India, and it plays a critical role in ensuring the society's and people's needs are met. Public interventions are referred to as media trials or media trials because they aid individuals in comprehending the true image of any problem so not everyone understands what is law, what is legal, or the language used in official documents.

In both of the above cases, the media played a critical role in exposing the whole topic from time to time so that people could appreciate what was going on and what decisions the supreme court was making.

What is a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and how was contempt of court proven against the accused? The entire course of the statute has been seen, described, and interpreted by the media to uphold the nation's judicial, fundamental, and legal obligations.

According to this Article, the disrespect was perpetrated by people who are revered as gods and who, through the authority they wield, uphold the nation's and court's integrity. He was the defender of Justice Kernan's case, and he committed contempt of court by ignoring the courtroom and defaming his fellow judges.

What is a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), and how was the accused's contempt of court proven? The media has seen, represented, and interpreted the whole trajectory of the act to protect the nation's judicial, fundamental, and legal obligations.

According to this post, the disrespect was committed by people who are worshipped as gods and who uphold the nation's and court's dignity by the power they possess.

Some Suggestions:
  1. Separate punitive provisions for civil cases are needed.
    Contempt of Court and Criminal Contempt of Court are two different types of contempt
     
  2. The allowance for fine monitoring should be expanded. up to 25 lakhs rupees, As a result, it should be something like this:
    A nominal fine of Rs.2000, which can be increased to Rs.25 lac depending on the circumstances.
     
  3. Penal penalties can now be increased to a maximum of 5 years in prison.
     
  4. It is important to apply a strict reading of the Act to keep the Act's goal in mind.
     
  5. In criminal law, it should be considered a non-bailable offense.Disobedience to the Court.

Conclusion:
The courts and judicial hearings serve the general interest by working toward the purpose of providing equal and balanced justice to all, which represents a larger view of our society's well-being and soundness. Being a stumbling block in the step not only puts the contemnor in danger, but it also takes away the opportunity.

There's a chance that somebody can have a fair trial. However, a constructive critique that is made in good faith is a good thing.

It is an utter requirement that should be encouraged and respected because it makes people who are not a part of the judicial system that keeps a check on the judiciary's influence.

Keeping a blind eye and accepting anything that comes out of every outlet, even the judiciary is not something that vigilant people are supposed to do. As law-abiding people, it is our responsibility to contribute to the preservation of human dignity.

We reserve our rights to fair criticism of the judiciary if and when necessary, but we also reserve our right to fair criticism of the judiciary.

References:
  • https://indiankanoon.org/doc/9561866
  • https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/jailed-for-contempt-former-high-court-judge-cs-karnan-to-be-released-tomorrow-1789817
  • www.supremecourtofindia.nic.in
  • https://thedailyguardian.com/a-study-on-contempt-of-court/#:~:text=There%20are%20two%20Articles%20in%20the%20Constitution%20of%20India%20which,and%20Article%20142(2).&text=This%20intensity%20of%20responsibility%20obviously,Indian%20constitution%20against%20its%20scorn
  • https://blog.ipleaders.in/contempt-of-court-2/
End-Notes:
  1. P.V. Kane, 'History of Dliainiasliastia/ Vol. K 196S, p.517
  2. H8 Utpal Kumar Das v. Court of the Munsiff, Kamrup, AIR 2008 Gau 62: 2008 (2) Gau LR 706
  3. U.P. Resi. Emp. Co-op., House B. Society v. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority, AIR 2003 SC 2723
  4. Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971
  5. Jaswant Singh v. Virender Singh, 5332(NCE) of 1993

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