Q. Consider the following statements regarding the Contempt of Court:
1. Scandalizing the Court is a criminal offence in India.
2. Supreme Court and High Courts derive their contempt powers from the Constitution.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
Statement 1 is correct. The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 divides contempt into civil and criminal contempt.
- Civil contempt refers to the willful disobedience of an order of any court.
- Criminal contempt includes any act or publication which: (i) ‘scandalises’ the court, or (ii) prejudices any judicial proceeding, or (iii) interferes with the administration of justice in any other manner.
- ‘Scandalising the Court’ broadly refers to statements or publications which have the effect of undermining public confidence in the judiciary.
Statement 2 is correct. The superior courts (Supreme Court and High Courts) derive their contempt powers from the Constitution.
- Article 129 and 215 provide that Supreme Court and every High Court (respectively) 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.