Does Contempt Conviction threaten Free Speech in India

  • Aastha Sahu
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  • Aastha Sahu

    Student at Dr. Harisingh Gour Central University, Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, India

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Many of the rulings in commencing contempt cases highlighted the condition of freedom of free speech in India - a liberty shattered by colonial relics such as the statute on contempt, which we have foolishly adopted as a purported requirement to maintain the majesty of our courts. As much as the Supreme Court cherishes the public's trust in it, it should also trust the people not to create views about the Court based on a few jokes on social media or any other forum. Truth was rarely regarded as a defense against a charge of contempt for many years. There was an idea that the judiciary tended to conceal any misbehavior among its individual members in order to maintain the institution's reputation. The act of contempt of court is neither rational nor consistent with the fundamental requirements of a legitimate government. India's courts have frequently used their contempt powers to penalize dissent on the alleged grounds that such speech undermines or scandalizes the judiciary's authority. However, the court has rarely done a strict investigation of whether those activities represented any genuine threat to – or interfered in any direct way with – the administration of justice. Is the act still legitimate after all of these arguments? Yes, because India continues to have a large number of criminal contempt cases in comparison to other nations, which cannot be disregarded. There are numerous situations where the need for this act has been proven, while in some cases the court's choice to exercise its powers has been termed unjustified. In this article, I have concentrated on several cases when the authority of contempt of court was exercised but was not justified in the first place and thus violated fundamental rights, particularly freedom of speech. I will also demonstrate that does contempt conviction endanger free speech in India?


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 6, Page 105 -110


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