CONTEMPT OF COURT
In a democracy people should have right to criticize judges. The purpose of should not be to upheld the majesty and dignity of the court but only to enable it to function. Anything that curtails or impairs the freedom of limits of the judicial proceedings must of necessity result in hampering of the administration of Law and in interfering with the due course of justice. This necessarily constitutes contempt of court. Oswald defines contempt to be constituted by any conduct that tends to bring the authority and administration of Law into disrespect or disregard or to interfere with or prejudice parties or their witnesses during litigation. Halsbury defines contempt as consisting of words spoken or written which obstruct or tend to obstruct the administration of justice. Black Odgers enunciates that it is contempt of court to publish words which tend to bring the administration of Justice into contempt, to prejudice the fair trial of any cause or matter which is the subject of Civil or Criminal proceeding or in anyway to obstruct the cause of Justice. In case of India, under Section 2(a) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 defines contempt of court as civil contempt or criminal contempt, it is generally felt that the existing law relating to contempt of courts is somewhat uncertain, undefined and unsatisfactory. The jurisdiction to punish for contempt touches upon two important fundamental rights of the citizens, namely, the right to personal liberty and the right to freedom of expression. It was, therefore, considered advisable to have the entire law on the subject scrutinized by a special committee. Essentials
The elements generally needed to establish a contempt are:
1. the making of a valid court order,
2. knowledge of the order by respondent,
3. ability of the respondent to render compliance, and
4. wilful disobedience of the order.
According to Lord Hardwick, there is a three-fold classification of Contempt: 1. Scandalizing the court itself.
2. Abusing parties who are concerned in the cause, in the presence of court. 3. Prejudicing the public before the cause is heard.
For the concept of Contempt of Court, the Contempt of Court Act, 1971 was passed which dealt with such a concept. Article 129 and 215 of the Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court and High Court respectively to punish people for their respective contempt. Section 10 of The Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 defines the power of the High Court to punish contempts of its subordinate courts. Power to punish for contempt of court under Articles 129 and 215 is not subject to Article 19(1)(a). However in India contempt of court is of two types:
1. Civil Contempt
Under Section 2(b) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971, civil contempt has been defined as wilful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or wilful breach of an undertaking given to a court. 2. Criminal Contempt
Under Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971, criminal contempt has been defined as 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) Scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court, or (ii) Prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with the due course of any judicial proceeding, or (iii) Interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner. (a) 'High Court' means the high court for a state or a union territory and includes the court of the judicial commissioner in any union territory. Object
There can be no doubt that the purpose of contempt jurisdiction is to uphold the majesty and dignity of law courts and their image in the minds of the public is no way whittled down. If by...
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