Contempt of Court – Prashant Bhushan Controversy

Swathi R
Government law college, Vellore, India.

Volume III, Issue V, 2020

The concept of contempt of court is several countries and centuries older. In England it has been a common principle that seeks to protect the judicial power of the king. Later, disobedience, abstraction in implementing their directions and actions that showed disrespect towards them came to be punishable. The statutory basis for contempt of court is quite older as there were pre-independence laws for contempt in india. When the constitution was adopted, contempt of court was made as one of the restrictions on freedom of speech and expression. Article 129 of the Indian constitution confers powers on the Supreme Court to punish the contempt itself. Article 215 also confers corresponding powers on High courts to punish for contempt. And most importantly the contempt of courts act, 1971 gives statutory backing to the idea.

Contempt of court is an offence of disobedience or disrespect towards a court of law and its officers in the form of conduct that opposes or challenges the authority, justice and dignity of the court. Contempt of court is a constitutional power vested with Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court of India shall be a court of record and shall have all the powers of such a court including the power to punish for contempt itself. Superior courts of record have the power to punish contempt relating to judges of those courts and proceedings therein. The principal aim of the jurisdiction is to protect the dignity of the court and the due administration of justice.