Contempt of Court​​

Satakshi N Dixit
NMIMS, Navi Mumbai, India

Volume IV, Issue I, 2021

Speech is almighty’s gift to mankind. With speech, we are given a medium to express our views, opinions, affirmations and negations in a lucid manner. Had there been no words, the concept of sign language would also stand meaningless as symbology at its fundamentals is a system developed from gestures surging in spoken and written language. Free speech is a necessary precondition to the enjoyment of other rights, such as the right to vote, free assembly and freedom of association, and is essential to ensure press freedom. However, there is a clear and worrying global trend, including in western democracies, of governments limiting vibrant discussion and debate within civil society and among civil society, political leaders and government. Therefore, freedom of speech is a natural right acquired rightly after birth of an individual. “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek and receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers” proclaims the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Hence, it becomes a basic right that stands uncompromisable at any cost.

Undoubtedly, our constitution makers had also provided the statute of fundamental rights to freedom of right and expression. In the light of how our constitution is open for interpretation at one end is one aspect from where reasonable restrictions come in picture. These restrictions in context of freedom of speech and expression stands solely on one interrogation that is ‘How much freedom is good freedom?’; in aim to answer this question, we will be dealing with the details of contempt, abstractions of freedom of speech, comparative analysis with English law and legal framework of a few other nations whose constitutions provide the citizens with progressive and absolute purviews regarding concept of contempt and freedom of speech. In a nutshell, we conclude the analytical research with a detailed critical analysis of the landmark case of Prashant Bhushan.