Contempt of Court

  • IASbaba
  • July 30, 2022
  • 0
Indian Polity & Constitution
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In News: Supreme Court warns State Election Commission of Maharashtra of contempt if polls re-notified to include OBC quota.

  • The SC pulled up the Maharashtra SEC and warned it of contempt of court action if it re-notifies elections to 367 local bodies taking the cover of the top court’s July 20 order allowing reservation for OBCs in the local body polls.
  • The court while allowing the OBC reservation on July 20, the court had made it clear that this will not apply to the 367 local bodies where elections had already been notified thereby kick starting the election process.

Contempt of Court

  • Contempt of court, as a concept that seeks to protect judicial institutions from motivated attacks and unwarranted criticism, and as a legal mechanism to punish those who lower its authority
  • This follows the initiation of contempt proceedings by the Supreme Court of India, on its own motion.

Constitutional Provision and Statutory Basis:

  • When the Constitution was adopted, contempt of court was made one of the restrictions on freedom of speech and expression.
  • Separately, Article 129 of the Constitution conferred on the Supreme Court the power to punish contempt of itself.
  • Article 215 conferred a corresponding power on the High Courts.
  • The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, gives statutory backing to the idea.

Types of Contempt

The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 defines both civil and criminal contempt.

  • Civil contempt refers to wilful disobedience to any judgment of the court.

Criminal contempt can be invoked if an act:

  • Tends to scandalise or lower the authority of the court.
  • Tends to interfere with the due course of any judicial proceeding.
  • Obstruct the administration of justice.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2022)

  1. Pursuant to the report of H.N. Sanyal Committee, the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 was passed.
  2. The Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court and the High Courts to punish for contempt of themselves.
  3. The Constitution of India defines Civil Contempt and Criminal Contempt.
  4. In India, the Parliament is vested with the powers to make laws on Contempt of Court.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1, 2 and 4 only
  3. 3 and 4 only
  4. 3 only

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