Updated: Apr 9
In the absence of a concrete definition of “contempt of court”, the Indian courts are vested with immense power to scrutinize each and every act of a person which brings disgrace, dishonour or disrespect to the authority and administration of law, this is because the term in itself has multiple connotations of its own.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE AND OBJECT OF LAW OF CONTEMPT?
The purpose of enacting the Act was to safeguard the judicial system and interest of the citizens in general. The Act provides a system to prevent obstruction over the span of justice and to maintain the rule of the law, however, it is a weapon that must be utilized sparingly. The object of contempt procedures isn’t to shield judges but to secure the interest of the general population by protecting the authority of the court and the organization of justice from undue assault; notwithstanding, judges can’t utilize it to wreck individual retribution. On account of contempt which isn’t submitted even with the court, which might be portrayed as useful contempt, and which relies on the impedance of an aim to block the course of justice.
In order to give the idea of “contempt of Court'' a statutory backing, the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 was passed by the Indian parliament. In addition to the 1971 Contempt of Courts Act, Article 129, Article 142(2) and Article 215 of the Constitution of India authorize the Supreme Court and the High Court to punish individuals for their contempt. Section 10 of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 put forth the authority of the High Court to punish contempt of its subordinate courts. Power to punish for contempt of court under Articles 129 and 215 is not subject to Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.
TYPES OF CONTEMPT.
As per Section 2(b) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971,
Any deliberate disregard towards a judgment, decree, direction, order, writ, the undertaking given to the court, or other court proceedings amounts to Civil Contempt.
As per the language of Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971,
Any publication no matter whether it is 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 scandalize, 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;
amounts to Criminal Contempt of Court.
There exists no uncertainty that the rationale behind introducing the provisions regarding contempt proceedings is to preserve the dignity of the courts and their image in the society. Through the help of this Act, it can be ensured that the courts are not portrayed in a bad way.
If the common man is directed to lose his regard for the judge acting in his legal obligations, at that point the certainty rested in the courts is very much shaken.
The Limitation period for contempt proceedings has been discussed under Section 20 of the 1971 Act, which tells us that the limitation period is of one year from the date on which the contempt is supposed