Contempt of court is an abstraction that looks forward to defending and regularising the judicial systems and institutions from incentivizing assault and criticizing unjustified matters. It works to punish who try to defame the authority.
Recently an advocate activist Prashant Bhushan has been monitoring under a similar case, and this highlights various disciplines that undermine the system.
In late June, Bhushan joined a chorus of Twitter in chiding the Chief Justice of India as he poses aside a superbike. This time, he had also tweeted expressing his sad grief about the ‘destruction of democracy’ in India during the reign of the present government.
In his view, the Supreme Court and the last four Chief Justices are blameworthy for this state of affairs.
Provoked, the Supreme Court took up the case ‘suo motu’ on July 22 and, in barely three weeks, handed down its guilty verdict.
The concept of contempt of court has been in action for centuries. Its a common law principle that protects the judicial Power of king in England, where it initially exercised by himself and later by a panel of other legal experts.
Over time, any contumacy to judges, or impedance of the implementation of their directives, or offensive comments and actions that defame them towards them comes to a punishable offense.
When the Constitution was adopted, the contempt of court was recognized as one of the restrictions on freedom of speech and expression.
While separately, Article 129 of the Constitution conferred on the Supreme Court the PowerPower to punish contempt of itself. Article 215 of the Indian Constitution bestowed a corresponding power on the High Courts where the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, gave statutory backing to the idea.
Since years, the truth has seldom been concerned a defence against any misconduct charge of contempt. There was an impression against the judiciary, which tends to hide misconduct among its members to protect the institution’s image. The Act amended in 2006 to showcase truth as a valid defence if it was in the public interest and was invoked in a bonafide manner.