Contempt of Court in India

Contempt of Court in India

Contempt of court refers to any actions which defy a court's authority, cast disrespect on a court, or impede the ability of the court to perform its function.

Contempt of Court has been bifurcated as Civil Contempt and Criminal Contempt in Contempt of Courts Act  of 1971.

1. Civil Contempt
Civil contempt has been defined under section 2(b) of Contempt of courts Act of 1971 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.
2. Criminal Contempt
Under Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971, criminal contempt has been defined in Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 under section 2( c)  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) Scandalizes or tends to scandalize, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court, or
(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 manner.
(a) 'High Court' means the high court for a state or a union territory and includes the court of the judicial commissioner in any union territory.
The purpose for contempt jurisdiction is to maintain the loftiness and dignity of law. In the event that by argumentative words or compositions the normal man is directed to lose his regard for the legal, at that point the certainty rested in the courts is inconsiderately shaken and the guilty party should be rebuffed. Basically of Contempt is the defender of the seat of equity more than the individual sitting of the judge sitting in that seat

3.Third Party
Third party to the proceeding can be guilty of contempt of Court if they have part to play in the offence.
According to Section 20 of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 the limitation period for initiating contempt proceedings is of one year from the date on which the contempt is alleged to have been committed.

Punishment for the contempt of court
High Court and Supreme Court are bestowed with the power to punish for the contempt of the court.
Under Section 12 of Contempt of Court Act, 1971, a contempt of court can 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.
In civil cases if the court looks at that as a fine won't meet the closures of equity and that a sentence of detainment is essential might, rather than sentencing him to straight forward detainment, coordinate that  the he be confined in a common jail for such period not surpassing six months as it might think fit.

An accused may likewise be released or the discipline granted might be dispatched on apology being made by the accused to the fulfillment for the court. An apology shouldn't be dismisses just on the ground that it is qualified or contingent if the accused makes it genuine.

Defences allowed in Contempt proceeding

Clause (b) of Section 13 of Contempt of Court Act, 1971 that was introduced recently by 2006 amendment, allows the accused to raise the defence of justification by truth of such contempt, if the court is satisfied that it is in public interest and the request for invoking the said defence is bona fide.

However, no court shall impose a sentence under this Act for a contempt of court unless it is satisfied that the contempt is of such a nature that it substantially interferes, or tends substantially to interfere with the due course of justice.


These articles are given unreservedly as general aides. While we do our best to ensure these aides are useful, we don't give any assurance that they are exact or proper to your circumstance, or assume any liability for any misfortune their utilization may cause you. Try not to depend on data given here without looking for experienced legitimate guidance first. If all else fails, please dependably counsel a lawyer and fill the query box or call us at +91-8521228202 or drop us a mail at