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The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) urges for a review of criminal contempt laws in India

  • IASbaba
  • September 7, 2020
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The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) urges for a review of criminal contempt laws in India

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- International relations; Important Organisations; Judiciary

In news

  • The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has urged for a review of criminal contempt laws in India, 
  • It has expressed its concerns over the Supreme Court’s decision to convict Advocate Prashant Bhushan for criminal contempt.

Key takeaways

  • For the ICJ, the conviction appears to be inconsistent with international standards on freedom of expression and the role of lawyers.
  • It goes against the general protection of free speech and expression in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • It is also  inconsistent with the freedom of expression law guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
  • It goes against the principles enshrined under the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

Important value additions

Contempt of Court

  • Article 129 and 215 of the Indian Constitution empowers the SC and High Courts respectively to punish people for their respective contempt.
  • Article 142: It empowers the SC to punish for its contempt. 
  • However, what is contempt of court per se has not been defined by the Indian Constitution.
  • The Contempt of Court Act, 1971, elaborately deals with the concept of contempt of court.
  • The Act divides contempt into civil and criminal contempt.

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