I take this opportunity to express my profound gratitude and deep regards to my teacher Mr.. Visas Guppy for his exemplary guidance, monitoring and constant encouragement throughout the course of this project. The blessing, help and guidance given by him time to time shall carry me a long way in the Journey of life on which I am about to embark. Lastly, I thank my parents, brother, sister and friends for their constant encouragement without which this assignment would not be possible. Index 1. Introduction 2. Legislations and Judicial Pronouncements 3. Trial by Media 5. Bibliography Introduction
Court proceedings would be a waste of time if nobody needed to do what the court told them, or if the court had no power to enforce its orders. Contempt of court is disregarding the court’s orders, or in any way interfering with the way the court does its Job. Most courts take this very seriously, and have great power to deal with offenders. Criminal contempt The courts can only operate effectively if they are able to enforce their will. That is the main purpose of the law relating to civil contempt. However, in order to operate properly, the courts also need to be free from outside interference and to maintain heir dignity.
That, too, is protected by criminal contempt. It is the business of the legislature to pass laws, but it is the business of the courts to administer them; when members of a government try to interfere in court proceedings or to influence court judgments, they are likely to be reminded sternly that they are interfering. If they persist, they may well find themselves in contempt of court, even if they are government ministers. Nobody is above the law. Similarly, the courts will protect themselves from interference by people attempting to bribe or threaten anyone connected with a case.
They will also protect themselves from interference by journalists through publications. Courts also guard their dignity. This is not because judges consider themselves to be special people, but because they see themselves as representatives of the law itself. It is the law which must be respected by all citizens, and in order to ensure that respect, the courts insist on maintaining dignity. Courts are usually large and imposing buildings with national emblems above the bench where the Judges or magistrates sit; Judges often wear robes and wigs and people bow to them in court.
All of these things represent the great stature and dignity of routs, which in turn are meant to encourage people to respect and obey them. Both these things – freedom from interference and maintenance of dignity – are protected by the law relating to criminal contempt. Publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise) of any matter may constitute criminal contempt: Any publication which offends the dignity of the court Judges are not above criticism, but there are limits to how extreme that criticism can be.
For example, it would be criminal contempt if a newspaper, radio or television port suggested that Judges were habitually drunk in court, or that they took bribes. Any publication which prejudices the course of Justice A report of a court case which gives details of the defendant’s previous criminal convictions, before the end of the trial, would be criminal contempt. This is because it may prejudice the Judge, magistrate or Jury against the defendant, if there are many previous convictions. This would reduce the chances of a fair trial.
Previous convictions (often called antecedents or priors) may not be revealed until after the on an appropriate punishment. Legislation and Judicial Pronouncements The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 was enacted by Parliament in the Twenty-second year in the Republic of India with the objective of defining and limiting the powers of certain courts in punishing contempt of courts and to regulate their procedure in relation thereto. The law relating to contempt of court as existed prior to the Act of 1971 was somewhat uncertain and unsatisfactory.
Moreover, the Jurisdiction to punish for contempt touches two important fundamental rights including the right to freedom of speech and expression and right to personal liberty. It was, therefore, considered necessary to have the entire law on the subject scrutinized by a Special Committee. Hence, a Committee was set up in 1961 under the chairmanship of late H. N. Sandal. The recommendations of the Committee have been generally accepted by Government after considering the view expressed on those recommendations by the State Governments, Union Territory Administrations, the Supreme Court, the High Courts and the Judicial Commissioners.
On the basis of these recommendations, the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 was passed which can be described as a comprehensive legislation. Section 2. Definitions a) Sub-clause ‘a’ of section 2 defines Contempt of Court. It says “Contempt of Court means civil contempt or criminal contempt”. B) Sub-clause ‘b’ defines civil contempt as “willful disobedience to any Judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or willful breach of an undertaking given to a court”. ) Sub-clause ‘c’ defines criminal contempt 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) cannibalizes, or tends to scandalous, or rowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court; or (it) 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;” In Queen v.
Gray, it was held that the law relating to contempt of court is well settled as act done or writing published which is calculated to bring a court or a Judge into contempt, or to lower his authority, or to interfere with the due course of Justice or the lawful process of the Court, is a contempt of court. The Supreme Court in Barbarians v. Registrar, Arioso H. C. , has held that the defamatory criticism of a Judge functioning as a Judge even in purely administrative or non-adjudicatory matters amounted to criminal contempt.
The imputations contained in the letters have grossly vilified the High Court and has substantially interfered with the administration of Justice and therefore, the appellant was rightly convicted of the offence of the criminal contempt. Making wild allegations of corruption against the presiding officer amounts to Scandinavian the court. Imputation of motives of errors inroad into the efficacy of Judicial process and threat to Judicial independence and needs to be dealt with the strong arm of law. Ђ?U. P. Sales Tax Service Association v. Taxation Bar Association 1995 (5) SEC 716 It has been rightly held by the Supreme Court that the spirit underlying Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India must have due play but we cannot overlook the provisions of the second clauses of the Article. While it is intended that there should be Freedom of Speech and Expression, it is also intended that in exercise of the right, contempt of the Court shall not be committed.
These provisions are to be read with Articles 129 and 21 5 of the Constitution which specially confer on the Supreme Court and the High Courts the power to punish for contempt of themselves. Article 19 (l)(a) of the constitution guarantees complete Freedom of Speech and Expression but it also makes an exception in respect of Contempt of Court. The Supreme Court has held that the guaranteed right on which the functioning of our democracy rests, is intended to give protection to expression of free opinions, to change political and social conditions and to advance human knowledge.
While this right is essential to a free society, the Indian Constitution has itself imposed restrictions in relation to contempt of court. It cannot, therefore, be said that the right abolishes the law of contempt or that attacks upon Judges and courts will be condoned. However, it should also remember that the Judiciary in India is an institution of democracy. We should have strict interpretation of law of contempt in India because we have written Constitution in which freedom of speech and expression has been explicitly guaranteed.
Judges and courts are not unduly sensitive or touchy to fair and reasonable criticism of their Judgments fair comments even if outspoken but made without maturity or attempting to impair the administration of justice and made in good faith in proper language do not attract any punishment for contempt of court. -?Len re Reason Ala Joshua 1993 Sup 4 SEC 446 In a democracy fair criticism of the working of all the organs of State should be welcome and would in fact promote the interests of democratic functioning. Sec. 5 of the Act evidently enacted with a view to secure the right of fair criticism provides that a person shall to be guilty of contempt of court for publishing any fair comment on the merits of the case which has been heard and finally decided.
This does not mean that the right to commit for any contempt by Scandinavian the court has become obsolete. The question would still be whether the publication alleged to be offending is by way of fair comment on the merits of the case. -?Vincent Painstakingly v. Copal Syrup 1982 Carl 2094 The Supreme Court on 1 5 July, 2010 dismissed a contempt petition filed against Union Minister Kappa Sibyl for allegedly making contemptuous remarks against the Judiciary. A Bench comprising Justices J M Panache and A K Patinas said the article in the newspaper, which had quoted Sibyl’s message on Judiciary and legal fraternity published in a magazine, did not impair administration of Justice or bring it to disrepute.
Complaint against presiding officers of subordinate courts when not Section 6. Contempt A person shall not be guilty of contempt of court in respect of any statement made by him in good faith concerning the presiding officer of any subordinate court to-? (a) any other subordinate court, or (b) the High Court, Explanation: In this section, “subordinate court” means any court subordinate to a High Court. A complaint or report about a Judicial officer of his dishonesty, partiality or other conduct unbecoming of a court, made to an authority to which it is subordinate, is not contempt of court if all reasonable care is taken by the makers to keep it confidential.