A student of faculty of law, Aligarh Muslim University, Amanat Raza, has written this article. In this article, he discusses the concept of Contempt of Court, its definition, its importance and its criticism. 

Contempt of Court definition

“The term ‘Contempt of Court’ is a generic term descriptive of conduct in relation to particular proceedings in a court of law which tends to undermine that system or to inhibit citizens from availing themselves of it for the settlement of their disputes.”This definition is given by Lord Diplock when he was giving the judgment in the case of Attorney-General v. Times Newspapers Ltd. [1]

This term Contempt of Court can be easily understood as when we are disrespectful or disobedience towards the court of law which means that we wilfully fail to obey the court order or disrespect  the legal authorities. Then the judge has the right to impose sanctions such as fines or can send the contemnor to jail for a certain period of time if he is found guilty of Contempt of Court.

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This term can also be understood in terms of the freedom of limits of the judicial proceeding. As we know that all judges in courts can give judicial proceedings which have a certain limit in which it has the freedom to make any judicial proceeding and anything which curtails or stops it in making any judicial proceeding which is of necessity can amount to contempt of court.

Halsbury, Oswald, and Black Odgers have also given the definition of Contempt of Court and in addition to that, they have talked about its misuse and its wrong interpretation and also its broad prospectus.

In India, the concept of Contempt of Court is defined in Section 2(a) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 which has broadly describe it as civil contempt or criminal contempt.

There are two Articles in the Constitution of India which talk about the Contempt of Court and these are Article 129  and Article 142(2) .

Article 129

Article 129 says that the Supreme Court shall be the ‘Court of Record’ and it has all the powers of such courts including the power to punish for contempt of itself.

Now, we should know about the meaning of ‘Court of Record’  to understand why anything commented wrongly against the decision of the courts leads to Contempt of Court.

Here, is the answer to this question. The ‘Court of Record’ means a Court having its acts and proceedings registered for everlasting memory or that memory which has no end and as evidence or proof. The truth of these records cannot be questioned and also these records are treated as a higher authority. And anything stated against the truth of these records comprised Contempt of Court.

Article 142(2)

This article also talks about Contempt of Court. This Article says that when any law is made by the Parliament on the provisions mentioned in clause 1 of this Article, the Supreme Court has all the power to make an order for securing any person’s attendance, production of any documents or has the power to give punishment to anyone for its contempt.

This also does not mean that the Supreme Court can do anything against the right of personal liberty if it has the power to punish for Contempt of Court. We know that it is the guardian of all the rights that we get from the Indian Constitution so it has to safeguard these rights and cannot violate these rights itself.

Origin of Contempt of Court

The legal system that we see today is the summit of the long journey which has started from the divine rule that was in proclamation to the natural law and more further to the positive law that we see today. Contempt of Court is a matter which regards that justice should be administered fairly and it also punishes anyone who aims to hurt the dignity or authority of the judicial tribunals. This law has its origin from the medieval times when the royal powers of the monarch were transferred to the court and at this time the monarch was believed to be appointed by God and everyone was accountable to him. This power of accountability clearly depicts the same accountability the Supreme Court possesses nowadays under Article 129 and 142 of the Indian constitution against its contempt. In the English medieval ages the Judiciary was an important tool of the Monarch. At that time these judges and legislatures were representatives of the divine rule monarchy and these judges and legislatures played an important role in legitimizing the functions of these monarchs. The king was the superior head of justice and this power he has given to the judicial system and if anyone or the king himself disrespect or question the courts it became a challenge to the superiority of the king and as well as to his wisdom. So, this can be seen as although the source of the law has transformed in the society the unquestionability quality that a king enjoyed was upheld by the monarchy. There is a case of contempt against J. Almon in the year 1765; a statement was made by the Irish judge Sir Eardley Wilmot in regard to this contempt attacks on the judges. In this case, Almon has published a pamphlet libelling the decision of the bench of kings and the judgment given by the judge had given rise to many questions of several aspects of the judiciary which had not been questioned yet. This matter gives a great push in the establishment of the contempt of court. This judgement also recognised that the unbiasedness is also one of the features of the judiciary in making the decision which makes this institution different from its peer institutions. 

History of Law of Contempt in India

Sanyal Committee report deals with the historical aspect of the Law of Contempt in India. This committee has been responsible for starting the amendment process in this law. The law of contempt similar to many other laws has been brought from the English laws and statutes but this law has not been absolutely taken from the English laws it has other origins too. How has the indigenous development of contempt law taken place? It can be understood by the age-old system which our country was having to protect court or assemblies (sabhas) in the past. We know about the philosopher Kautilya, in his book Arthashastra has written about the governance at that time. He has written that “Any person who exposes the king or insults his council or make any type of bad attempt on the kings then the tongue of that person should be cut off.” Adding to this statement, he also said that “When a judge threatens, bully or make silence to any of the disputants in the court then he should be punished.”

Until the year 1952, there were no statutory provisions for the contempt of court in India but after the enactment of Contempt of Court Act, 1952 statutory provisions for contempt of court in India has established. This Act extends to the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir. This Act gives power to the High Court to punish contempt of the subordinate court. This Act has repealed the existing law from the Contempt of Court Act, 1926  that was prevailing in the state of Rajasthan and the state of Saurashtra. Although this Act was extended to the whole of Bangladesh. It can be surprising knowing that although these Acts have been introduced earlier then also these Acts do not give the definition of the term ‘Contempt’ and also there was still a lot of ambiguity present around the law of contempt. This law has to be dealt with in light of two fundamental rights given by our Indian Constitution and these rights are (i) freedom of speech and expression and (ii) right to personal liberty. 

There was a bill introduced in the Lok Sabha to make any changes or to make the existing law relating to contempt more strong. This law was introduced by Shri B B Das Gupta on 1st of April 1960. The government after examining the bill discern the need for reform in the existing Act. So, they made a special committee to look into the matter or inspect the existing Act. This committee was set up in 1961, under the chairmanship of H.N. Sanyal which gives its report on 28th February, 1963. The report of this committee took the form of Contempt of Court Act, 1971. The procedure and application of enactment something that was done earlier by the Contempt of Court Act of 1926 and 1952 was given several changes through the Contempt of Court Act, 1971. This Act segregates the ‘Contempt of Court’ into criminal and civil contempt with their definition respectively. This thing was not mentioned in the earlier existing courts. Now, let us know something about the Contempt of Court Act, 1971.

Contempts of Courts Act 1971 notes

This Act extended to the whole of India and it has also provided that this Act shall not apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir except in certain conditions in which the provision of the Act is connected to the Contempt of Supreme Court. Another thing is that this Act provides the definition of Contempt of Court which has not been given by the earlier Act of Contempt of Court. This Act under Section 2(a) defines Contempt of Court as ‘Civil Contempt’ and ‘Criminal Contempt’. There is a case of Noorali Babul Thanewala v. K.M.M. Shetty [2] in which an undertaking was given to a Court in civil proceedings by a person, on the faith that undertaking was correct the Court sanctions a course of action in regard to that undertaking but the undertaking seems to be incorrect. Hence, this was considered as misconduct and amount to Contempt of Court. In this act there are several provisions given that it does not amount to Contempt of Court. Although, these provisions have to be discussed later in this article some of them you should know at this point in time. These are: (i) innocent publication of a matter or its distribution does not amount to Contempt of Court. (ii) publishing of fair and accurate reports of the Judicial proceedings does not amount to Contempt of Court. (iii) fair criticism on judicial acts does not amount to Contempt of Court. Next, in this Act, the High Court has been given the power to make decisions on the matter which is outside its jurisdiction. Punishment for Contempt of Court has been given in this Act and also what type of misconduct not amount to Contempt of Court has been given, how we can deal with that contempt has also been given. The Judge, Magistrate or any other person who is acting judicially can also be contempt for their actions. Also, this Act gives certain limitations where this Act does not apply. This Act does not apply to the Courts of Nyaya Panchayat and other Courts of the village. This Act repealed the old existing Act of Contempt of Court which came into force in 1952.

Essentials of Contempt of Court

If a person named Akash has to prove that the other person named Sita is guilty of committing an act which is an offence in a court of law. Then he has to show the court that the offence which Sita has done is fulfilling the essential required to commit that act or not. If the essentials of that will be fulfilled then he will be liable for that act. Similarly, every offence has certain exceptions that has to be fulfilled for making the person liable for doing that act. Contempt of Court also has certain essentials and these are as follows:

  1. Disobedience to any type of court proceedings, its orders, judgment, decree, etc should be done ‘willfully’ in case of Civil Contempt.
  2. In Criminal Contempt ‘publication’ is the most important thing and this publication can be either spoken or written, or by words, or by signs, or by visible representation.
  3. The court should make a ‘valid order’ and this order should be in ‘knowledge’ of the respondent.
  4. The action of contemnor should be deliberate and also it should be clearly disregard of the court’s order.

These essentials should be fulfilled while making someone accused of Contempt of Court.

Types of Contempt of Court in India

Depending on the nature of the case in India, Contempt of Court is of two types.

  1. Civil Contempt
  2. Criminal Contempt

Civil Contempt

Section 2(a) of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971 states Civil Contempt as wilful disobedience to the order, decree, direction, any judgment or writ of the Court by any person or willfully breach of undertakings by a person given to a Court.  Since Civil Contempt deprives a party of the benefit for which the order was made so these are the offences essential of private nature. In other words, a person who is entitled to get the benefit of the court order, this wrong is generally done to this person.

There is a case on the willful disobedience of the court order which a person should know.

Utpal Kumar Das v. Court of the Munsiff, Kamrup [3]

This is the case of non-rendering of assistance, although the court has ordered to render assistance. Decree executed by the court to deliver immovable property but because of certain obstruction, the defendant failed to do so. Hence, he was held liable for constituting disobedience to the orders of the competent Civil Court.

Another case is on the breach of an undertaking which leads to Contempt of Court.

U.P. Resi. Emp. Co-op., House B. Society v. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority [4]

In this case, the Supreme Court has directed the Noida Authorities to verify and state on the affidavit details given by persons for allotment of plots. In pursuance to the same direction by the Supreme Court a person Mr. S filed a false affidavit to mislead the court. The Registry directed a show-cause notice against him to say that why an act of contempt should not be taken against him for misleading the Supreme Court.

Defences to Civil Contempt

A person who is accused of Civil Contempt of case can take the following defences:

  • Lack of Knowledge of the order: A person can not be held liable for Contempt of Court if he does not know the order given by the court or he claims to be unaware of the order. There is a duty binding on the successful party by the courts that the order that has passed should be served to the Individual by the post or personally or through the certified copy. It can be successfully pleaded by the contemner that the certified copy of the order was not formally served to him.
  • The disobedience or the breach done should not be : If someone is pleading under this defence then he can say that the act done by him was not done willfully, it was just a mere accident or he/she can say that it is beyond their control. But this plead can only be successful if it found to be reasonable otherwise your plead can be discarded.
  • The order that has disobeyed should be vague or ambiguous: If the order passed by the court is vague or ambiguous or this order is not specific or complete in itself then a person can get the defence of contempt if he says something against that order. In R.N. Ramaul v. State of Himachal Pradesh [5], this defence has been taken by the respondent. In this case, the Supreme Court has directed the corporation of the respondent to restore the promotion of the petitioner from a particular date in the service. But the respondent has not produced the monetary benefit for the given period and a complaint was filed against him for Contempt of Court. He pleads for the defence on the given evidence that it has not mentioned by the court in order to pay the monetary benefit. Finally, he gets the defence.
  • Orders involve more than one reasonable interpretation: If the contempt of any order declared by the court and the order seems to be given more than one reasonable and rational interpretation and the respondent adopts one of those interpretations and works in accordance with that then he will not be liable for Contempt of Court. 
  • Command of the order is impossible: If compliance of the order is impossible or it can not be done easily then it would be taken as a defence in the case of Contempt of Court. However, one should differentiate the case of impossibility with the case of mere difficulties. Because this defence can be given only in the case of the impossibility of doing an order.

Criminal Contempt

According to Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971, Criminal Contempt is Defined as (i) the publication of any matter by words, spoken or written, or by gesture, or by signs, or by visible representation or (ii) doing of any act which includes:

  1. a)  Scandalize or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of any court, or
  2. b) Biasness, interferes or tends to interfere with the due course of any type of Judicial proceedings, or
  3. c) obstructs or tends to obstruct, interfere or tend to interfere with the administration of justice in any manner.

Case on Scandalizing the Court:

Jaswant Singh v. Virender Singh [6]

In this case an advocate caste derogatory and scandalous attack on the judge of the High Court. An application was filed an election petitioner in the High Court, who was an advocate. He wanted to seek to stay for further arguments in an election petition and also the transfer of election petitions. These things cause an attack on the judicial proceeding of the High Court and had the tendency to scandalize the Court. It was held in this case that it was an attempt to intimidate the judge of the High Court and cause an interface in the conduct of a fair trial.

Punishment for Contempt of Court

Section 12 of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971 deals with the punishment for Contempt of Court. High Court and the Supreme Court have been given the power to punish someone for the Contempt of Court. Section 12(1) of this Act states that a person who alleged with the Contempt of Court can be punished with simple imprisonment and this imprisonment can extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees or can be of both type punishment. However, an accused may be discharged or the punishment that was awarded to him maybe remitted on the condition that if he makes an apology and this apology should satisfy the court then only he can be exempted from the punishment of Contempt of Court. Explanation of this sentence is that if the accused made an apology in the bona fide then this apology shall not be rejected on the ground that it is conditional or qualified.

The court can not impose a sentence for Contempt of Court in excess of what is prescribed under the given section of this Act either in respect of itself or of a court subordinate to it.

Remedies against an order of Punishment

Section 13 has been added in the Contempt of Court Act, 1971 after amendment in 2006. The new Act may be called The Contempt of Court (Amendment) Act, 2006. This Section tells that contempt of court cannot be punished under certain circumstances or certain cases.

Clause (a) of Section 13 of the Contempt of Court (Amendment) Act, 2006 states that no Court under this Act shall be punished for Contempt of Court unless it is satisfied that the Contempt is of such a nature that it substantially interferes or tend to substantially interfere with the due course of Justice.

Clause (b) of Section 13 of this Act states that the court may give the defence on the justification of truth if it finds that the act done in the public interest and the request for invoking that defence is bona fide.

Contempt Proceedings

Two Sections of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971 deals with the procedure of Contempt proceeding. One talks about the proceeding in the face of the court of records and other talks about the proceedings other than the court of records.

Section 14 of the Contempt of Court deals with the procedure of contempt proceeding in the face of the court of record whereas Section 15 of this Act deals with the procedure of the contempt proceeding outside the court of records.

These courts of record have got the power to punish for its contempt inherently. Therefore, these courts of record can deal with the matter of content by making their own procedure. While exercising the contempt jurisdiction by the courts of record the only case to be observed is that the procedure adopted must be fair and reasonable in which the alleged contemnor should be given full opportunity to defend himself. If the specific charge against the person who is punished for the contempt is distinctly stated and he is given a reasonable opportunity to answer and to defend himself against the charge then only he will be liable for contempt of court and the court proceeding runs against him. Where the person charged with contempt under this section applies whether orally or in writing to have the charge against him, tried by some judge other than the judge or judges in whose presence or hearing the contempt is alleged to have been committed and the court is of the opinion that it is necessary in the interest of justice that the application should be allowed, it shall cause the matter to be transferred before such judge as the Chief Justice may think fit and proper under the circumstances of the case or placed before the Chief Justice with the statement of facts of the case.

Contempt committed outside the court

Criminal Contempt rather than Civil Contempt committed outside the Court. Section 15(1) of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971 deals with the notice of Criminal Contempt by Court of Record such as the Supreme Court and the High Court. Following manners can be taken by the Supreme Court and the High Court for cognizance of the Criminal Contempt:

  1. On the motion of court of records.
  2. On the motion of the Advocate General of the Supreme Court and the High Court.
  3. If any person proceeds the motion with the consent of the Advocate General in writing.
  4. If the law officer who is related to the High Court for the Union Territory of Delhi as the Central Government notify proceeds the motion. Then it can be considered as contempt committed outside the court.

Section 15(2) of this Act states that in the criminal contempt of the subordinate court, the high court may take certain actions in the manner given in this Act.

Contempt by a Company

In case any person is found guilty of contempt of court for any undertaking given to a court while he is a member of the company. Then the person who at that time was in charge of that company will be responsible for the conduct of the business of that company and shall be deemed to be guilty of the contempt. The punishment may be enforced by the detention in the civil prison of such person with the leave of the court

However, that person can be free from liability if such person proves that the contempt was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all possible means to prevent its commission.

Liability of officer of the company

If the contempt of court has been committed by a company and it is provided that the contempt has been committed with the consent of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other officers of the company, then such persons shall also be deemed to be guilty of the contempt and the punishment will be enforced against them by the detention in civil prison of such director, manager, secretary or other officer with the leave of the court.

Contempt by the third party to the proceeding

If a third party has a part to play in the offence then the third party to the offence may be guilty of contempt of court and proceeding can initiate against him. In LED Builders Pty Ltd v Eagles Homes Pty Ltd [7] Lindgren J stated:

“It is not necessary to show that a person who has breached the order of the court can be liable for contempt of court but the only necessary thing to confirm his liability for contempt is to show that the person knew of the order which was breached.”

In another case of M/S. Gatraj Jain & Sons v. Janakiraman [8] it has been stated about the third party to the proceeding that if a third party to the contempt petition found to be wilfully disobeying the court order then he cannot prevent the court from restoring the status quo.

Criminal contempt and criminal defamation proceedings

A question has been asked by the person that can an action for criminal contempt and criminal defamation initiated simultaneously. This can be understood by knowing the concept of Criminal contempt and criminal defamation. Earlier, in this article, we have talked about Criminal Contempt. But for an overview, we should know what does a criminal contempt mean. According to Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971, criminal contempt is defined as (i) the publication of any matter by words, spoken or written, or by gestures, or by signs, or by visible representation or (ii) doing of any act which includes:

  1. a)  Scandalize or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of any court, or
  2. b) Biasness, interferes or tends to interfere with the due course of any type of Judicial proceedings, or
  3. c) obstructs or tends to obstruct, interfere or tend to interfere with the administration of justice in any manner. 

Now, we will know the concept of criminal defamation.

The definition of criminal defamation has been given under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. It states about defamation that “Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter expected, to defame that person.” 

There are certain exceptions of criminal defamation and these are:

  1. If the publication of anything is in truth and for public good then it cannot be treated as defamation.
  2. When a person touches any public questions then for that he cannot be liable.
  3. If the publication is of the reports of the proceedings of the court.

As the right to reputation is an important facet of the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, hence, the aim of the criminal defamation is to prevent a person from maligning harming the reputation of others by using absurd or malign words with malafide intentions.

In the case of Dr. Subramanian Swamy vs. Union of India (UOI), Ministry of Law and Ors. [9] the constitutional validity of the criminal defamation was upheld. 


Section 20 of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971 deals with the limitation for the action of Contempt. It states that no court shall initiate any proceedings of contempt in two conditions:

  1. Either the proceedings are on his own motion, or,
  2. After the period of one year from the date on which the contempt is alleged to have been committed.

Landmark Contempt Judgments

In this case, the Judge held that procedural aspect for Contempt of Court may still be prescribed by the Parliament so that it could be applicable in the Supreme Court and the High Court. This means that Section 12(1) of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971 which prescribed a maximum fine of Rs. 5000 and imprisonment for a term of six months shall be applicable in this case.

It was held in this case that the punishment that is given for contempt in the Contempt of Court Act, 1971 shall only be applicable to the High Court but for Supreme Court, it acts as a guide. The judgment that was given was not accompanied by rationality, this was worrisome because the Supreme Court has been given great powers that the drafters of the Indian Constitution has also not given.

This case is also similar to the Supreme Court Bar Association Case. In this case also once again the Supreme Court declared that the powers to punish for contempt are inherent in nature and the provision of the Constitution only recognised the said pre-existing situation.

The provision of the Contempt of Court cannot be used to limit the exercise of jurisdiction given in Article 129 and Article 215 of the Constitution.

Famous cases of contempt

In this case, the Supreme Court observed that the judges cannot use the contempt jurisdiction for upholding their own dignity. Our country is the free marketplace of ideas and no one could be restricted to criticise the judicial system unless this criticism hampers the ‘administration of justice’.

This case is also known as the Auto Shankar case; in this case, Justice Jeevan Reddy invoked the very famous doctrine of John Sullivan. This doctrine states that public must be open to strict comments and accusations as long as made with bonafide diligence, even if it is untrue.

In this case, the Supreme Court observed that the fair criticism on the conduct of a Judge or the institution of Judiciary and its function may not amount to contempt if it is made in good faith and in the public interest.

In this case, the Supreme court observed that the defence of truth can be permitted to the person accused of contempt if the two conditions are satisfied. These are: (i) if it is in the interest of public and (ii) the request for invoking the said defence is bonafide. These are given in Section 13 of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971.

He was the first sitting High Court Judge to be jailed for six months on the accusation of Contempt of Court. In February 2017, contempt of court proceeding was initiated against him after he accused twenty Judges of the Higher Judiciary of Corruption. He wrote a letter to PM Modi against this but he did not provide any evidence against them.

Compared with foreign Jurisdictions

United Kingdom

There was no conviction for the offence of Scandalizing the Court from the common law in England since 1993. The origin of contempt by scandalizing the court can be traced back to 1765. The case of  King v. Almon,[17] in which the Almon faced judicial trial against him for libel against a judge. Justice Wilmort, in this case, gives special punishment to Almon for libel and from here the scandalizing a court became a form of Contempt of Court. Around a hundred years later the above case, Lord Morris in the case McLeod v. St.Aubin[18] made a very wonderful statement that for contempt by scandalizing has become outdated and in place of that the court should leave on the public opinion whether the attacks or contempt that are derogatory or scandalous to the Judiciary or not. However, within a year, his words about the contempt by scandalizing being old or outdated and this has proved false in another case of Queen v. Grey[19]. In this case, it has been conceded by the court that the judiciary is still open to criticism by the media, but it should qualify the statement “ reasonable arguments or expostulation” must be offered to treat a statement as a contempt.

United States of America

This country has considered the offence of contempt by scandalizing to be too extreme. Every criticism that we do to the judiciary undermines the authority of the Court. Right to freely comment or criticise the action of a public institution is of primary importance to the public and also for the American idea of Democracy. For abolishing the offence of contempt by scandalizing, the UK consultation paper relied on the landmark decision of the US Supreme Court decision in case Bridges v. California[20]. This offence has been considered unconstitutional in the United States of America.

Criticism of the power of contempt of court

The discretion that a judge has in determining the contempt and its punishment has been a debatable issue in the eyes of some scholars because the contempt power has given too much authority to the Judges. A professor from Virginia University has about this contempt power that the role of victim, judge, and prosecutor are dangerously mixed.

Much of the criticism goes around the due process or lack of restraint in the punishment for contempt of court. Critics have argued that the judge in the Criminal contempt may be too harsh while giving the Judgment. For example, in 1994, the Virginia Court has fined Mine Workers of America $52 million in connection in violence that occurred in 1989. Similarly, sometimes the person who refused to provide the information to the court has been to jail for one year or for many years under the charge of contempt. There is some loophole in this context and it should be fulfilled.

Apart from criticism there are also some good things about contempt. Contempt of Court Act, 1971 is one of the most powerful statutes in the country. This statute gives the Constitutional Court the wide power to restrict an individual’s fundamental rights to personal liberty (that he got under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution) for ‘scandalizing the court’ or willfully disobeying the court’s order, judgment, decree, and direction, etc.


The existing role relating to ex facie contempt of lower courts is unsatisfactory and misleading in India. It appears that evidently, the difficulties in this regard are the after product of overlap of contempt powers under the Indian Penal Code, Contempt of Courts Act and contempt powers of the Supreme Court and High Court under the Indian constitution. The scenario has emerged as more complicated by way of the inconsistent interpretations followed through the Supreme Court and High Court regarding diverse provisions under the Indian Penal Code dealing with interference with the administration of justice and exclusion clause contained in the Contempt of Courts Act. Not only the higher court should be given the power to deal with contempt but also the lower court should be given this power. Contempt of Court if seen from the perspective of the judges, higher judicial officials seems good but if it comes to the perspective of common people it turns towards its bad effect.


  •  Attorney-General v. Times Newspapers Ltd, [1973] 3 W.L.R. 298.
  • Noorali Babul Thanewala v. K.M.M. Shetty, AIR 1990 S.C. 464
  • Utpal Kumar Das v. Court of the Munsiff, Kamrup, AIR 2008 Gau 62: 2008 (2) Gau LR 706
  • U.P. Resi. Emp. Co-op., House B. Society v. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority, AIR 2003 SC 2723
  • R.N. Ramaul v. State of Himachal Pradesh,  AIR 1991 SC 1171 
  • Jaswant Singh v. Virender Singh, 5332(NCE) of 1993
  • LED Builders Pty Ltd v Eagles Homes Pty Ltd, [1999] FCA 1213
  •  M/S. Gatraj Jain & Sons v. Janakiraman, Patent Appeal No.1 of 2009
  • Dr. Subramanian Swamy vs. Union of India (UOI), Ministry of Law and Ors., MANU/SC/0621/2016
  • Supreme Court Bar Association vs Union Of India & Anr, AIR 1998 SC 1895 
  • Zahira Habibullah Sheikh & Anr vs State Of Gujarat & Ors, (2004) 4 SCC 158
  • Sudhakar Prasad vs. Govt. of A.P. and Ors.,  (2001) 1 SCC 516
  • P.N. Duda vs V. P. Shiv Shankar & Others, 1988 AIR 1208
  • R. Rajagopal vs State Of T.N, 1995 AIR 264
  • In Re:Arundhati Roy…. … vs — on, 2002 AIR (SCW) 1210
  • Indirect Tax practitioners’ Association v. R.K. Jain, NO.9 OF 2009
  • King v. Almon, 243 K.B. 1765
  • McLeod v. St.Aubin, [1899] A.C. 549 ( Hereinafter, “Aubyn”)
  • Queen v. Grey, 1900 2 Q.B. 36
  • Bridges v. California, 314 US 252 (1941)

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