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Contempt of Court UPSC NOTE

 What is contempt of court?

  • Contempt of court, simply put, is an act of disrespect or disobedience towards a court or something that interferes with its proceedings. 

1. Direct contempt: This happens right in front of the court, like:

  • Disrupting a hearing with outbursts or violence.

  • Threatening the judge or other court officials.

  • Refusing to obey a court order.

  • Giving false testimony.

2. Indirect contempt: This happens outside the courtroom but still affects the court's work, like:

  • Publishing information that could prejudice a jury.

  • Trying to intimidate witnesses.

  • Disobeying a court order issued outside the courtroom.

In general, there are three main elements to contempt of court:

  • The act itself: The specific action that shows disrespect or disrupts the court.

  • Intent: Whether the person doing the act intended to show disrespect or interfere with the court.

  • Harm to the court: Whether the act actually harmed the court's ability to function.

Punishments for contempt of court can vary, but they may include:

  • Fines: This is the most common punishment for indirect contempt.

  • Jail time: This is more likely for serious cases of direct contempt.

  • Community service: This may be an option for less serious cases.

D.K. Basu judgment

  • The conduct of the four officers were found to be in contempt of the directions of the Supreme Court in the D.K. Basu judgment of 1996 against police abuse and custodial violence

  • The D.K. Basu verdict had highlighted the deep concern in a free society for the protection of an individual from torture and abuse by the police and other law-enforcing officers.

  • Police is, no doubt, under a legal duty and has legitimate right to arrest a criminal and to interrogate him during the investigation of an offence but it must be remembered that the law does not permit use of third degree methods or torture of accused in custody during interrogation and investigation with that view to solve the crime,” the judgment had observed.

  • Justices Gavai and Mehta were not impressed by the argument raised by senior advocate Siddharth Dave, appearing for the police officers, that there was no “willful disobedience” of the verdict by his clients.

  • The Bench asked whether ignorance of law had become a defence in law now

  • It is the duty of every police officer to know what is the law laid down in D.K. Basu [judgment],” Justice Gavai observed.

  • The senior lawyer challenged the jurisdiction of the High Court to try the men for contempt.

  • The Bench admitted the statutory appeal of the police officers, A.V. Parmar, D.B. Kumavat, Laxmansinh Kanaksinh Dabhi and Rajubhai Dabhi, and stayed the contempt action against them in the High Court.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Contempt of Court UPSC NOTE
Contempt of Court UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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