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PROPOSED FINAL DRAFT

SUBMITTED TOWARDS THE FULFILMENT OF THE COURSE TITLED

PROFESSIONAL ETHICS

TOPIC: CRIMINAL CONTEMPT vs. ELEMENTS OF CONTEMPT UNDER


CRIMINAL LAW

Submitted To:

Dr. ANSHUMAN

Faculty of Professional Ethics

Submitted By:

ANJALI

Roll no. 912

5th year(9th Sem), BA. LLB

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page no:
Acknowledgement....
1. Introduction.....
Research methodology..

Aims and objective.

Hypothesis..

Source of data

Type of study.

2. Concept of contempt of court


3. Origin and development of the law of contempt in india .
4. The contempt of courts act, 1971 - salient features .
5. Other statutory law related to criminal contempt in india..
6. Conclusion..

Bibliography.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Its a fact that any research work prepared, compiled or formulated in isolation is
inexplicable to an extent. This research work, although prepared by me, is a culmination
of efforts of a lot of people.

Firstly, I would like to thank our teacher for the subject of PROFESSIONAL
ETHICS, Dr. ANSHUMAN PANDEY for assisting me with his prudence in
accomplishment of this work which relates to professional ethics. I would like to thank
him for his valuable suggestions towards the making of this project.

Thereafter, I would also like to express my gratitude towards my classmates and friends
towards the completion of this project work. And I would also like to express my
gratitude towards the library staff of my college which assisted me in acquiring the
sources necessary for the compilation of my project.

Last, but not the least, I would like to thank the Almighty for obvious reasons.

- ANJALI

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INTRODUCTION

MEANING OF CONTEMPT
Contempt is an act of deliberate disobedience or disregard for the laws, regulations, or decorum of a
public authority, such as a court or legislative body. In legal terminology, contempt refers to any
willful disobedience to, or disregard of, a court order or any misconduct in the presence of a court;
action that interferes with a judge's ability to administer justice or that insults the dignity of the court.1
There are essentially two types of contempt:

a) Contempt in facie disrespect to the decorum of the court (being rude, disrespectful to the
judge or other attorneys or causing a disturbance in the courtroom, particularly after being
warned by the judge)

b) Contempt ex facie willful failure to obey an order of the court. Failure to make a court-ordered
payment, such as alimony, may result in a finding of contempt. The court's power to punish
for contempt includes fines and/or jail time. Since the judge has discretion to control the
courtroom, contempt citations are generally not appealable unless the amount of fine or jail
time is excessive.

"Justice is not a cloistered virtue, She must be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful, even if
outspoken, comments of ordinary men."
-Helmore, Justive Bowen
In Austman and Oddson v Bjarnason, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal adopted these words:
"A contempt is a disobedience to the Court, an opposing or despising the authority, justice, or dignity
thereof.

"It commonly consists in a party's doing otherwise than he is enjoined to do, or not doing what he is
commanded or required by the process, order or decree of the Court.

"There were three kinds of contempt: (1) Scandalizing the Court itself; (2) Abusing parties who are
concerned in causes in the Court; (3) Prejudicing mankind against persons before the cause is heard....

1 Miller C.J., Contempt of Court, 2nd edition, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989, p. 34.
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CONCEPT OF CONTEMPT OF COURT
Anything that curtails or impairs the freedom of limits of the judicial proceedings must of necessity
result in hampering of the administration of Law and in interfering with the due course of justice.
This necessarily constitutes contempt of court. Oswald defines contempt to be constituted by any
conduct that tends to bring the authority and administration of Law into disrespect or disregard or to
interfere with or prejudice parties or their witnesses during litigation. Halsbury defines contempt as
consisting of words spoken or written which obstruct or tend to obstruct the administration of justice.
Black Odgers enunciates that it is contempt of court to publish words which tend to bring the
administration of Justice into contempt, to prejudice the fair trial of any cause or matter which is the
subject of Civil or Criminal proceeding or in anyway to obstruct the cause of Justice.
In case of India, under Section 2(a) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 defines contempt of court
as civil contempt or criminal contempt; it is generally felt that the existing law relating to contempt
of courts is somewhat uncertain, undefined and unsatisfactory. The jurisdiction to punish for contempt
touches upon two important fundamental rights of the citizens, namely, the right to personal liberty
and the right to freedom of expression. It was, therefore, considered
advisable to have the entire law on the subject scrutinized by a special committee.
In pursuance of this, a committee was set up in 1961 under the chairmanship of the late H.N.Sanyal,
the then additional solicitor general. The committee made a comprehensive examination of the law
and problems relating to contempt of court in the light of the position obtaining in our own country
and various foreign countries.
The recommendations, which the committee made, took note of the importance given to freedom of
speech in the Constitution and of the need for safeguarding the status and dignity of courts and
interests of administration of justice.The recommendations of the committee have been generally
accepted by the 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.
A case of contempt is C.K. Daphtary v. O.P. Gupta2 the respondent published and circulated a
booklet in public purporting to ascribe bias and dishonesty to Justice Shah while acting in his judicial
capacity. Mr, C.K. Daphtary, along with others, filed a petition alleging that the booklet has
scandalised the judges who participated in the decision and brought into contempt the authority of
the highest court of the land and thus weakened the confidence of the people in it. The Supreme Court,
in examining the scope of the contempt of court, laid down that the test in each case is whether the

2
(1971 1 SCC 626),
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impugned publication is a mere defamatory attack on the judge or whether it will interfere with the
due course of justice or the proper administration of law by the court.

ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE LAW OF CONTEMPT IN INDIA


The origin of the law of contempt of court in India can be traced from the English law. This law in
India is nothing but the off spring of the British administration of justice in India. Creation of different
Courts of Record in India necessarily meant the introduction of English Law of Contempt in some
measure.3
Establishment of the Court of Mayor and Corporation of Madras under the East India Companys
Charter of 16874 was the earliest Court of Record created in India. Admiralty Court established under
the Royal Charter of 1683 had the right to hear appeals and hence Admiralty Court was also
considered a Court of Record. Later Mayors Court was created by the Charter of 1727 5, which was
reconstituted by the Charter of 1753. These courts had power to punish for contempt.
In pursuance of the Regulating Act 1773, the Mayors Court at Calcutta was succeeded by the
Supreme Court established under a Charter granted in 1774. The Mayors Court at Bombay and
Madras were superseded by the Recorders Court at Madras. It was abolished by the Government of
India Act, 1800 and the Supreme Court was established in the place of Recorders Court at Bombay
by a Charter granted under the Statute of 1823. The Recorders Court and Supreme Court had the
same powers for punishing for contempt as the superior courts of England .The Supreme Courts were
in turn succeeded by the High Courts under the High Courts Act of 1861. The High Court of Calcutta
was a court of record in all its jurisdictions and therefore possessed power to commit for contempt6.
In 1886, the High Court of Allahabad was established under the High Courts Act, 1861 and was
constituted as a Court of Record.
The Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court considered this jurisdiction of the High Court in 1879
in Martin v. Lawrence7. Mr. Justice White observed:
The jurisdiction of the court, under which this process of contempt issued is a jurisdiction that it
has inherited from the old Supreme Court and was conferred upon that court by the Charters of the

3
VIII CAD 382: See also Report of the Committee on Contempt of Court, 4 (1963)
4
Charter granted by the Governor and Company of Merchants Trading into the East India, to the Mayor Aldermen and
Burgesses of Madras.
5
II Vestiges of Old Madras 1640-1800, 241,242(Charter of 1727, 249).
6
Re Abdool and Mehtaf (1867) 8 W.R. (Cr.) 32.
7
I.L.R. 4 Cal. 444 (1879).

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authority of the then court of Kings Bench and the High Court of Chancery in Great Britain, and this
jurisdiction has not been removed or affected by the Civil Procedure Code.
The inherent powers of the High Courts to punish for contempt were later affirmed by Lahore8 and
Patna High Court9. Privy Council also accepted the same view in Ambard v. Attorney General,
Trinidad and Tabago.10 These decisions show that the power to punish summarily for contempt is
not created by statute but inherent in every court of record.
Prior to the passing of the Contempt of Courts Act 1926 there was a conflict of opinion among the
different High Court as to their power to commit for contempt of subordinate court. Madras 11 and
Bombay12 High Court expressed the view that the High Courts could have jurisdiction to deal with
contempt of the Mofussil Courts. But the Calcutta13 High Court expressed the view that the High
Court in India did not possess identical power in matters of contempt of their subordinate courts as
possessed by the Court of Kings Bench in England. In 1926, the Full Bench of the Allahabad High
Court dealt with contempt of subordinate court under its inherent powers as a court of record.
For making the concept of contempt more specific and for providing punishment for contempt of
subordinate courts, the first Indian statute on the law of contempt i.e., the Contempt of Courts Act
was passed in 1926. It was enacted to define and limit the powers of certain courts in punishing
contempt of courts. When the Contempt of Courts Act, 1926 (XII of 1926) was in existence in British
India, various Indian States also had their corresponding enactment. These States were Hyderabad,
Madhya Bharat, Mysore, Pepsu, Rajasthan, Travancore-Cochin and Saurashtra. Section 2 of the Act,
1926, empowered the High Courts of judicature to exercise the jurisdiction, power and authority to
punish contempt of subordinate court. The Act was amended in 1937 to make it clear that the limits
of punishment provided in the Act related not only to contempt of subordinate court but also to all
cases.
Articles 12914 and 21515 of the Constitution of India made the Supreme Court and High Courts
respectively as Court of Record. Article 225, permits the High Courts to continue the jurisdiction and

8
In the Matter of Muslim Outlook, AIR 1927 Lah. 610.
9
Emperor v. Murali Manohar Prasad, AIR 1929 Pat 72.
10
AIR 1936 P.C. 141
11
In the Matter of K.Venkta Rao, 121, C. 239 (1921)
12
Re Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, AIR 1920 Bom. 175.
13
Legal Remembrancer v. Motilal Ghose, 1913, ILR Cal. 173
14
Article 129: The Supreme Court shall be a Court of record and shall have all the powers of such a Court including the
power to punish for contempt of itself.
15
Article 215: Every Hugh Court shall be a Court of record and shall have all the powers of such a Court including the
power to punish for contempt of itself.

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powers which they possessed immediately before the commencement of the Constitution. Though
the High Court as a Court of Record had the power to punish contempt of itself, doubt arose as to the
power of the Court of Record to punish contempt of subordinate courts.
The Contempt of Courts Act, 1926 did not contain any provision with regard to contempt of courts
subordinate to Chief Courts and Judicial Commissioners Court and also extra territorial jurisdiction
of High Courts in matters of contempt. So, the State enactments of the Indian States and the Contempt
of Courts Act, 1926 were replaced by the Contempt of Courts Act, 1952 (32 of 1952). Section 3 of
the Contempt of Courts Act, 1952 conferred the power on the High Courts including that of the
Judicial Commissioners Court to punish contempt of subordinate court. Section 4 of the Act limited
the punishment to be awarded in case of contempt.
The Contempt of Courts Act 1952 though sound so far as it goes touches only the fringes of the
subject. While its existing provisions should be continued there is need for widening considerably the
scope of the Act.16 The unsatisfactory nature of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1952 necessitated the
government to constitute a Committee to study the matter for the proper functioning of the law of
contempt.
An attempt was made in April, 1960 to introduce in the Lok Sabha a Bill to consolidate and amend
the law relating to Contempt of Courts. On an examination of the Bill, Government appears to have
felt that the law relating to contempt of courts in uncertain, undefined and unsatisfactory and that in
the light of the Constitutional changes which have taken place in the country, it would be advisable
to have the entire law on the subject scrutinized by a Special Committee set up for the purpose In
pursuance of that decision, a Committee was set up on July 29, 1961 under the Chairmanship of the
late H N Sanyal, the then Additional Solicitor General. The Committee made a comprehensive
examination of the law and problems relating to contempt of court in the light of the position obtaining
in our own Country and various foreign Countries. The recommendations, which the Committee
made, took note of the importance given to freedom of speech in the Constitution and of the need for
safeguarding the status and dignity of courts and interests of administration of justice.
The Sanyal Committee submitted its report on February 28, 1963 to define and limit the powers of
certain courts in punishing contempt of courts and to regulate their procedure in relation thereto. The
recommendations of the Committee have been generally accepted by the 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. The
Joint Select Committee of Parliament on Contempt of Courts examined the issue in detail and the

16
Report of the Committee on Contempt of Court, 9 (1963).

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Committee prepared a new Bill, the Contempt of courts Bill, 1968. The Bill seeks to give effect to
the accepted recommendations of the Sanyal Committee.
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.

The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 - Salient Features


Innocent publication and distribution of matter - not contempt (Sec.3)
Fair and accurate report of judicial proceeding - not contempt (Sec 4)
Fair criticism of judicial act - not contempt(Sec.5)
Complaint against presiding officers of subordinate courts when not contempt- in respect of
any statement made by him in good faith (Sec.6)
Publication of information relating to proceedings in chambers or in camera - not contempt
except in certain cases (Sec 7 )
Act not to imply enlargement of scope of contempt (Sec 9.)- Due regard to Constitutional
Provisions
Power of High Court to punish contempt of subordinate courts - Every High Court shall have
and exercise the same jurisdiction, powers and authority, in accordance with the same
procedure and practice, in respect of contempt of courts subordinate to it as it has and exercises
in respect of contempt of itself :
Provided that no High Court shall take cognizance of a contempt alleged to have been
committed in respect of a court subordinate to it where such contempt is an offence punishable
under the Indian Penal Code.(45 of 1860) [Sec.10]

OBJECT AND PURPOSE OF THE CONTEMPT OF COURTS ACT


The people of India have a lot of faith in the judiciary which is primarily entrusted with the duty of
administering justice. The primary purpose of giving courts contempt jurisdiction is then to uphold
the majesty and dignity of the courts and their image in the minds of the public. If such confidence
and faith were allowed to be shaken then this would have serious repercussions on the justice-delivery
system of our country. The law of contempt provides the necessary tool to the courts to check
unwarranted attacks or efforts at undermining the Rule of Law.

ESSENTIALS
The elements generally needed to establish contempt are:

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1. the making of a valid court order,
2. knowledge of the order by respondent,
3. ability of the respondent to render compliance, and
4. Willful disobedience of the order.

TYPES
According to Lord Hardwick, there is a three-fold classification of Contempt:
1. Scandalizing the court itself.
2. Abusing parties who are concerned in the cause, in the presence of court.
3. Prejudicing the public before the cause is heard.

Under Indian law, contempt of court has been divided into two categories:

I. Civil contempt
II. Criminal contempt

Civil contempt means - 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 (section 2.b). A civil
contempt is a failure to obey the courts order issued for the benefit of the opposing party.

Criminal contempt means - The publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or
by visible representations or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any act whatsoever, which :

I. scandalizes or tends to scandalize or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court;
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 matter (section 2.c).

A criminal contempt is conduct that is directed against the dignity and authority of the court. There
is not much of a problem with regard to civil contempt, inasmuch as it is essentially a willful
disobedience of the order of a court. However, in the case of criminal contempt, there has always
been uncertainty with regard to scandalising the court. Very often the courts have not been able to
distinguish between the scandalising of a judge, and the scandalising of the court.

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Broadly, these are the two categories of contempt. It has always been held that the Supreme Court
and the High Courts have inherent powers to punish anyone for contempt, for the purpose of
safeguarding the dignity of the court (articles 129 & 215 of the Constitution of India).

Under Indian law, the following are not contempt:

Innocent publication and distribution of any matter by words, spoken or written, or by signs or
visible representations, which may interfere, or tend to interfere with the administration of
justice (section 3);
Fair and accurate reporting of judicial proceedings (section 4);
Fair criticism of a judicial act or any proceedings (section 5); and,
A complaint against the presiding officers of subordinate courts, made in good faith (section 6).

LIMITATION
The Limitation period for actions of contempt has been discussed under Section 20 of the Contempt
of Courts Act of 1971 and is a period of one year from the date on which the contempt is alleged to
have been committed.

PUNISHMENT

Power of High Court to try offences committed or offenders found outside jurisdiction
(Sec.11)
Punishment for contempt of court :
(1) Save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act or in any other law, a contempt of court
may be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or
with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both. : Provided that the accused
may be discharged or the punishment awarded may be remitted on apology being made to the
satisfaction of the court.
Explanation.-An apology shall not be rejected merely on the ground that it is qualified or
conditional if the accused makes it bona fide. [Sec.12]

APPEALS
An appeal shall lie as of right from any order or decision of High Court in the exercise of its
jurisdiction to punish for contempt-

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A. where the order or decision is that of a single Judge, to a Bench of not less than two Judges of
the Court ;
B. where the order or decision is that of a Bench, to the Supreme Court : [Sec. 19]

LIMITATION OF THE APPEAL


An appeal under sub-section (1) shall be filed-
A. in the case of an appeal to a Bench of the High Court, within thirty days ;
B. in the case of an appeal to the Supreme Court, within sixty days, from the date of the order
appealed against. [Sec 19 (4) ]

OTHER STATUTORY LAW RELATED TO CRIMINAL CONTEMPT IN


INDIA
There are two kinds of contempt: civil and criminal. This article focuses on criminal contemptthe
kind designed to punish with jail time or a fine. Behavior during both civil and criminal proceedings
can give rise to a criminal contempt charge.

When people intentionally behave in a way that embarrasses judges or prevents them from doing their
jobs, criminal contempt charges may follow.
Direct and Indirect

Criminal contempt can be direct or indirect. Direct contempt is typically behavior that happens during
court and interrupts the proceeding. The behavior generally needs to be extreme to result in direct
contemptfor example, a defendant shouting profanities at the judge during a hearing. A defendant
muttering an obscenity during a hearing, on the other hand, may not show direct criminal contempt.
(Davila v. State, 100 So.3d 262 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2012).)
Behavior that may result in indirect or constructive contempt doesnt usually happen in court, but
instead when someone deliberately disobeys a court order or judgment. If someone chooses to defy a
court order that requires her to appear at a hearing, she may face charges for indirect criminal
contempt. Evidence from outside sources, such as mailing dates on pleadings and third-party
testimony, often serves as proof for an indirect contempt charge. (Such evidence typically isnt as
important where direct contempt is involved, as the judge is usually witness to all the relevant facts.)
(Bank of N.Y. v. Moorings at Edgewater, 79 So.3d 164 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2012).)
Indirect criminal contempt may occasionally arise in other scenarios, too. For instance, in a 2014
Illinois case, an appeals court overturned the conviction of a woman who cursed in frustration just
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outside the courtroom. (People v. Perez, 2014 IL App (3d) 120978.) The theory was that the woman
had been "disrespectful to the court's authority." (For more on the case, see Jail Time for Cursing in
the Courthouse?)
Statutory Law on Contempt

Federal and state statutes give rise to different tests for contempt. New York, for example, has a
statute that says its courts may punish a person for criminal contempt for acts that include:
disorderly behavior committed during court that interrupts proceedings or impairs the respect
of authority

noise or disturbance that interrupts proceedings

deliberate disobedience or resistance to a court order or mandate, or

publishing a false report of the proceedings.

An operative issue under this statute is whether the person willfully disobeyed a clear and
unequivocal court mandate. (N.Y. Jud. Law 750; Wheels Amer. N.Y., Ltd. v. Montalvo, 50
A.D.3d 1130 (N.Y. App. Div. 2008).)
Theres a federal criminal contempt statute saying federal courts can punish misbehavior in their
presence or near them that obstructs the administration of justice. For this section, courts consider
whether four elements are present:
misbehavior

in or near to the presence of the Court

that obstructs the administration of justice, and

that the defendant commits with the required degree of criminal intent.

(18 U.S.C. 401; In re Grogan, 972 F.Supp. 992 (E.D. Va. 1997).)
The federal statute also lists disobedience or resistance to court orders or commands as contemptuous.
Under appropriate facts, courts look at whether the defendant willfully violated a reasonably specific
order. (18 U.S.C. 401; U.S. v. Bernardine, 237 F.3d 1279 (11th Cir. 2001).)
Punishment

Because the purpose is punishment, a person facing a criminal contempt charge is generally entitled
to similar protections as other criminal defendants. So, whatever the test may be, the government

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must establish the elements of criminal contempt beyond a reasonable doubt. That said, there may be
procedural differences from other cases. For instance, courts may be able to issue both a finding of
direct contempt and punishment for it on the spot, without the normal due process protections. (See
People v. L.A.S., 111 Ill. 2d 539 (1986).)

Statutes also specify punishment parameters for criminal contempt. Texas, for example, says that, for
a justice or municipal court proceeding, the punishment for contempt cant exceed a $100 fine or
three days in jail, or both. For a court other than a justice or municipal court, such as a family court,
the maximum fine is $500 or six months in jail, or both. (Tex. Stat. Ann. 21.002.)

There are several provision under Indian statute which deals with criminal contempt under Indian
law. They are mentioned below:
Section 19517:Prosecution for contempt of lawful authority of public servants, for offences
against public justice and for offences relating to documents given in evidence.
(1) No Court shall take cognizance-
(a) (i) of any offence punishable under sections 172 to 188 (both inclusive) of the Indian Penal Code
(45 of 1860 ), or
(ii) of any abetment of, or attempt to commit, such offence, or
(iii) of any criminal conspiracy to commit such offence, except on the complaint in writing of the
public servant concerned or of some other public servant to whom he is administratively subordinate;
(b) (i) of any offence punishable under any of the following sections of the Indian Penal Code (45 of
1860 ), namely, sections 193 to 196 (both inclusive), 199, 200, 205 to 211 (both inclusive) and 228,
when such offence is alleged to have been committed in, or in relation to, any proceeding in any
Court, or
(ii) of any offence described in section 463, or punishable under section 471, section 475 or section
476, of the said Code, when such offence is alleged to have been committed in respect of a document
produced or given in evidence in a proceeding in any Court, or
(iii) of any criminal conspiracy to commit, or attempt to commit, or the abetment of, any offence
specified in sub- clause (i) or sub- clause (ii), except on the complaint in writing of that Court, or of
some other Court to which that Court is subordinate.
(2) Where a complaint has been made by a public servant under clause (a) of sub- section (1) any
authority to which he is administratively subordinate may order the withdrawal of the complaint and
send a copy of such order to the Court; and upon its receipt by the Court, no further proceedings shall

17
Section 195; the code of criminal procedure
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be taken on the complaint: Provided that no such withdrawal shall be ordered if the trial in the Court
of first instance has been concluded.
(3) In clause (b) of sub- section (1), the term" Court" means a Civil, Revenue or Criminal Court, and
includes a tribunal constituted by or under a Central, Provincial or State Act if declared by that Act
to be a Court for the purposes of this section.
(4) For the purposes of clause (b) of sub- section (1), a Court shall be deemed to be subordinate to
the Court to which appeals ordinarily lie from the appealable decrees or sentences of such former
Court, or in the case of a Civil Court from whose decrees no appeal ordinarily lies, to the principal
Court having ordinary original civil jurisdiction within whose local jurisdiction such Civil Court in
situate: Provided that-
(a) where appeals lie to more than one Court, the Appellate Court of inferior jurisdiction shall be the
Court to which such Court shall be deemed to be subordinate;
(b) where appeals lie to a Civil and also to a Revenue Court, such Court shall be deemed to be
subordinate to the Civil or Revenue Court according to the nature of the case or proceeding in
connection with which the offence is alleged to have been committed.
345. Procedure in certain cases of contempt.18
(1) When any such offence as is described in section 175, section 178, section 179, section 180 or
section 228 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860 ), is committed in the view or presence of any Civil,
Criminal or Revenue Court, the Court may cause the offender to be detained in custody and may, at
any time before the rising of the Court on the same day, take cognizance of the offence and, after
giving the offender a reasonable opportunity of showing cause why he should not be punished under
this section, sentence the offender to fine not exceeding two hundred rupees, and, in default of
payment of fine, to simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, unless such fine
be sooner paid.
(2) In every such case the Court shall record the facts constituting the offence, with the statement (if
any) made by the offender, as well as the finding and sentence.
(3) If the offence is under section 228 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860 ), the record shall show
the nature and stage of the judicial proceeding in which the Court interrupted or insulted was sitting,
and the nature of the interruption or insult.
Section 346 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 197319
346. Procedure where Court considers, that case should not be dealt with under section 345.

18
Section 345; the code of criminal procedure
19
Section 346; the code of criminal procedure
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(1) If the Court in any case considers that a person accused of any of the offences referred to in section
345 and committed in its view or presence should be imprisoned otherwise than in default of payment
of fine, or that a fine exceeding two hundred rupees should be imposed upon him, or such Court is
for any other reason of opinion that the case should not be disposed of under section 345, such Court,
after recording the facts constituting the offence and the statement of the accused as hereinbefore
provided, may forward the case to a Magistrate having jurisdiction to try the same, and may require
security to be given for the appearance of such person before such Magistrate, or if sufficient security
is not given shall forward such person in custody to such Magistrate.
(2) The Magistrate to whom any case is forwarded under this section shall proceed to deal with, as
far as may be, as if it were instituted on a police report.
Section 347 : When Registrar or Sub-Registrar to be deemed a Civil Court20
When the State Government so directs, any Registrar or any Sub-Registrar appointed under the ***
Registration Act, 1908 (16 of 1908), shall be deemed to be a civil Court within the meaning of sections
345 and 346.
348. Discharge of offender on submission of apology. When any Court has under section 345
adjudged an offender to punishment, or has under section 346 forwarded him to a Magistrate for trial,
for refusing or omitting to do anything which he was lawfully required to do or for any intentional
insult or interruption, the Court may, in its discretion, discharge the offender or remit the punishment
on his submission to the order or requisition of such Court, or on apology being made to its
satisfaction.
350. Summary procedure for punishment for non- attendance by a witness in obedience to
summons.21
(1) If any witness being summoned to appear before a Criminal Court is legally bound to appear at a
certain place and time in obedience to the summons and without just excuse neglects or refuses to
attend at that place or time or departs from the place where he has to attend before the time at which
it is lawful for him to depart, and the Court before which the witness is to appear is satisfied that it is
expedient in the interests of justice that such a witness should be tried summarily, the Court may take
cognizance of the offence and after giving the offender an opportunity of showing cause why he
should not be punished under this section, sentence him to fine not exceeding one hundred rupees.
(2) In every such case the Court shall follow, as nearly as may be practicable, the procedure prescribed
for summary trials.
Section 351 of the Criminal Procedure Code22

20
Section 347; the code of criminal procedure
21
Section 350; the code of criminal procedure
22
Section 351; the code of criminal procedure
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Appeals from convictions under sections 344, 345, 349 and 350

Any person sentenced by any Court other than a High Court under section 344, section 345, section
349 or section 350 may, notwithstanding anything contained in this Code appeal to the Court to which
decrees or orders made in such Court are ordinarily appealable.
The provisions of Chapter XXIX shall, so far as they arc applicable, apply to appeals under this
section, and the Appellate Court may alter or reverse the finding, or reduce or reverse the sentence
appealed against.
An appeal from such conviction by a Court of small causes shall lie to the Court of Session for the
sessions division within which such Court is situate.
An appeal from such conviction by any Registrar of Sub-Registrar deemed to be a civil Court by
virtue of a direction issued under section 347 shall lie to the Court of Session for the sessions division
within which the office of such Registrar of Sub-Registrar is situate.
Section 352: Certain Judges and Magistrates not to try certain offences when committed before
themselves23
Except as provided in sections 344, 345, 349 and 350, no Judge of a Criminal Court (other than a
Judge of a High Court) or Magistrate shall try any person for any offence referred to in section 195,
when such offence is committed before himself or in contempt of his authority, or is brought under
his notice as such judge or magistrate in the course of a judicial proceeding.
Chapter X of Indian Penal Code deal with the contempts of the lawful authority of public
servants
228. Intentional insult or interruption to public servant sitting in judicial proceeding24.
Whoever intentionally offers any insult, or causes any interruption to any public servant, while such
public servant is sitting in any stage of a judicial proceeding, shall be punished with simple
imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one
thou-sand rupees, or with both.
172. Absconding to avoid service of summons or other proceeding25.- Whoever absconds in order to
avoid being served with a summons, notice or order , proceeding from any public servant legally
competent, as such public servant, to issue such summons, notice or order, shall be punished with simple
imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month , or with fine which may extend to five hundred
rupees, or with both; or, if the summons or notice or order is to attend in person or by agent , or to

23
Section 352; the code of criminal procedure
24
Section 228, Indian Penal Code,1860
25
Section 172, Indian Penal Code,1860
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1[produce a document or an electronic record in a Court of justice], with simple imprisonment for a term
which may extend to six months , or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
173. Preventing service of summons of summons or other proceeding or preventing publication
thereof26 .- Whoever in any manner intentionally prevents the serving on himself, or
on any other person, or any summons, notice or order, proceeding from any public servant legally
competent , as such public servant , to issue such summons , notice or order, or intentionally prevents the
lawful affixing to any place such summons , notice or order, or intentionally removes any such summons,
notice or order from any place to which it is lawfully affixed, or intentionally prevents the lawful making
of any proclamation, under the authority of any public servant leally competent, as such public servant ,
to direct such proclamation to be made. Shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which
may extend to one month , or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with fine which may
extend to five hundred rupees , or with both; Or , if the summons, notice, order or proclamation is to be
produced or delivered up to a Court of justice , with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend
to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees , or with both.
174. Non-attendance in obedience to an order from public servant27.- Whoever, being legally
bound to attend in person or by an agent at a certain place and time in obedience to a summons, notice,
order or proclamation proceeding from any public servant legally competent, as such public servant,
to issue the same, intentionally omits to attend at that place of time , or departs from the place where
he is bound to attend before the time at which it is lawful for him to depart.
Shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine
which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both. Or, if summons, notice, order or proclamation
is to attend in person or by agent in a Court of Justice, with simple imprisonment for a term which
may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both,
175. Omission to produce to public servant by person legally bound to produce it28.-Whoever,
being legally bound to produce or deliver up any 1[document or electronic record] of any public
servant,as such, intentionally omits so to produce or deliver up the same, shall be punished with
simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to
five hundred rupees, or with both,
or , if 1[document or electronic record] is to be produced or delivered up to a court justice, with simple
imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one
thousand rupees, or with both.

26
Section 173, Indian Penal Code,1860
27
Section 174, Indian Penal Code,1860
28
Section 175, Indian Penal Code,1860
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177. Furnishing false information29.- Whoever, being legally bound to furnish information on any
subject to any public servant , as furnishes, as true, information on the subject which he knows or has
reason to believe to be false, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend
to six months ,or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both. Or, if the
information, which of the commission of an offence, or is required for the purpose of preventing the
commission of an offence, or in order to the apprehension of an offender, with imprisonment of either
description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
178. Refusing oath or affirmation when duly required by public servant to make it30.- Whoever
refuses to bind himself by an oath 1[or affirmation] to state the truth, when required so to bind himself
by a public servant legally competent to require that he shall so bind himself by a public servant
legally competent to require that he shall so bind himself , shall be punished with fine which may
extend to one thousand rupees , or with both.
179. Refusing to answer public servant authorised to question31.- Whoever , being legally bound
to state the truth on any public servant, refuses to answer any estion demanded of him touching that
subject by such public servant in the exercise of the legal powers of such public servant , shall be
punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months , or with fine which
may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
180. Refusing to sign statement32.- Whoever refuse to sign any statement made by him, when
required to sign that statement by a public servant legally competent to require that he shall sign that
statement , shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months,
or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.
181. False statement on or affirmation to public servant or person authorised to administer an
oath or affirmation33.- Whoever, being legally bound by an oath 1[or affirmation] to state the
truth on any subject to any public servant or other servant or other person as aforesaid, touching the
subject, any believe to be true , shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term
which may extend to there years, and also be liable to fine.
182. False information, with intent to cause public servant to use his lawful power to the injury
of another person34.- Whoever gives to any public servant any information which e snows or
believes to be false, intending thereby to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause ,
such public servant- (a) to do or omit anything which such public servant ought not to do or omit of

29
Section 177, Indian Penal Code,1860
30
Section 178, Indian Penal Code,1860
31
Section 179, Indian Penal Code,1860
32
Section 180, Indian Penal Code,1860
33
Section 181, Indian Penal Code,1860
34
Section 182, Indian Penal Code,1860
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the true state of facts respecting which such information is given were known by him, or (b) to use
the lawful power of such public servant to the injury or annoyance of any person, shall be punished
with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six month , or with fine which
may extend to one thousand rupees , or with both.
183. Resistance to the taking of property by the lawful authority of a public servant35.- Whoever
intentionally obstructs any sale of property offered for sale by the lawful authority of any public
servant ,as such , shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may
extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees , or with both.
185. Illegal purchase or bid for property offered for sale by authority of public servant.36-
Whoever, at any sale of property held by the lawful authority of a public servant, as such, purchases
or bids for any property on account of any person, whether himself or any other , whom he knows to
be under a legal incapacity to purchase that property at that sale, or bids for such property not
intending to perform the obligations under which he lays himself by such bidding , shall be punished
with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one month, or with which
may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both.
186. Obstructing public servant in discharge functions. Whoever voluntarily obstructs any public
servant in the discharge of his public functions, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which
may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both;
187. Omission to assist public servant when bound by law to give assistance37.- Whoever, being
bound by law to render or furnish assistance to ant public servant in the execution of his public duty,
intentionally omits to give such assistance, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term
which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both;
and if such assistance be demanded of him by a public servant legally competent to make such
demand for the purposes of executing any process lawfully issued by a Court of justice , or of
apprehending a person charged with or guilty of an offence, or of having escaped from lawful custody,
shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months , or with fine
which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both .
188. Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant38.- Whoever, knowing that , by
an order promulgated by an order promulgated by a public servant lawfully whoever , knowing that,
by an order

35
Section 183, Indian Penal Code,1860
36
Section 185, Indian Penal Code,1860
37
Section 187, Indian Penal Code,1860
38
Section 188, Indian Penal Code,1860
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promulgated by a public servant lawfully empowered to promulgate such order, he is directed to
abstain from a certain act, or to take certain order with certain property in his possession or under his
management, disobeys such direction, shall, if such disobedience cause to tender to cause obstruction,
annoyance or injury, or risk or obstruction, annoyance or injury, to any person lawfully employed, be
punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which
may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both; and if
such disobedience cause or trends to cause dangers to human life, health or safety, or cause or tends
to cause a riot or affray, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which
may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
Explanation.- It is not necessary that the offender should intend to produce harm, or contemplate his
disobedience as likely to produce harm. It is sufficient that he knows of the order which he disobeys,
and that his disobedience produces, or is likely to produce,
189. Threat of injury to public servant39.- Whoever holds out any threat of injury to any public
servant , or to any person in whom he believes that public servant to be interested, for the purpose of
inducing that exercise of the public factions of such public servant , shall be punished with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two year, or with fine, or with
both.
190. Threat of injury to induce person to refrain from applying for protection to public
servant40.- Whoever holds out any threat of injury to any person for the purpose of inducing that
person to refrain or desist from making a legal application for protection against any injury to any
public servant legally empowered as such to give such protection , or to curse such protection to be
given, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one,
or with fine, or with both, of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine,
or with both.

39
Section 189, Indian Penal Code,1860
40
Section 190, Indian Penal Code,1860
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CONCLUSION

The Supreme Court is vested with the right to punish those guilty of contempt of Court under Article
129 read with Article 142 of the Constitution of India. The power to punish contemprers is also vested
with the High Courts under Article 215 of the Constitution and the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971
also governs the punishments given by the High Court.
The contempt power in a democracy is only to enable the court to function effectively, and not to
protect the self-esteem of an individual judge. The foundation of judiciary is based on the trust and
the confidence of the people in its ability to deliver fearless and impartial justice. When the foundation
itself is shaken by acts which tend to create disaffection and disrespect for the authority of the court
by disrupting its working, the edifice of the judicial system gets eroded. Judiciary by punishing the
guilty infuses faith in the supremacy of law and omnipotence of justice. Every offender is to be
punished for contumacious acts under the relevant contempt laws, but it is extremely important to
make it sure by the judiciary that these provisions are not to be misused.
It can be adequately inferred that the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 is of paramount importance in
the context of sustaining the concept of justice. It aides to make the process of administering justice
expeditious as well as upholds the dignity and faith the people have bestowed in the judicial system
of the country. In itself, it abstains from any form of arbitrariness. It gives every organization or
individual charged under the act reasonable grounds to defend it or himself, as the case may be. The
restrictions, it imposes, is just and fair in them. Moreover, it recognizes the equal footing of all people
in the country by bringing the judiciary and its officials within its ambit.
In the Supreme Court Bar Association case the court took a very objective view and taking the help
of law and construing it in the right way came to the conclusion that the power to punish for any
professional misconduct rests with the Bar, whereas to punish for contempt only it has jurisdiction
for itself and subordinate courts. No statute can take contempt jurisdiction away from the Supreme
as well as the High Court.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Contempt of Court Act,1981


Indian Penal Code,1860
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1908
The Constitution of India, 1950
http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/3570/10/10_chapter%202.pdf
http://law.dewaninstitutes.org/contempt-court.pdf
http://www.hrdiap.gov.in/88fc/Week-12/Contempt%20of%20Courts%20in%20India.pdf
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Contempt+of+Court
http://www.lectlaw.com/def/c118.htm
http://www.duhaime.org/LegalDictionary/C/ContemptofCourt.aspx

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