Who does the law apply to?

Last updated on Aug 23, 2022

The law is meant to safeguard the public’s faith in the judiciary and its authority.(( Delhi Judicial Service Association, Tis Hazari Court v. the State of Gujarat, (1991) 4 SCC 406.))  The law applies to the general public and prohibits the public from making such remarks against the judiciary. However, this restriction won’t be applicable if the remarks come under any of the defences given by the law. 

The law restricts the public from making any remarks against the Supreme Court, High Court, Subordinate Courts, and Tribunals established by law. However, the law of contempt does not protect Nyaya Panchayats or other village courts that have been established by law for the administration of justice.(( Section 21, Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.)) To read more on the power to initiate contempt proceedings, see our explainer on “Who are the authorities under the law?”

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Please share your feedback about this post!

Sharing feedback will help us improve our content. Tell us how!

If you want to keep your feedback confidential, please mention it in your feedback. If you have a question, please ask us in the comments or Ask Nyaaya sections.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a question you want to ask our legal experts?

Related Resources

What does the law say you can/cannot do?

While anything that lowers the authority of the courts can be considered as contempt, there are certain exceptions given in the law. These include innocent publication and distribution of matter, fair and accurate reporting of a judicial proceeding, fair criticism of judicial actions, complaint against presiding officers of subordinate courts and truth.

What is Contempt of Court?

Contempt of court is any action or writing, meant to lower the authority of a court or a Judge or to interfere with the course of justice or the lawful process of the court.

Where can contempt of court happen?

Contempt of court can happen anywhere - inside court, outside court, on social media. etc. Further, contempt proceedings can be taken up by either the Supreme Court, High Court, or Tribunals. However, the procedure to initiate proceedings will differ based on the place where the alleged contempt happens.

Who are the authorities under the law?

The Constitution of India, 1950 empowers the Supreme Court and High Courts to have the powers to punish for contempt.

Is there a right to appeal against a contempt of court decision?

The law only allows a person to appeal against the decision once. If the appeal fails, no further remedy is present under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.  However, the Constitution of India allows an appeal against any judgment of any court, including the High Court. This is done through a unique form of a petition, known as the ‘Special Leave Petition’.

What are the offences and punishments under this law ?

The punishment for civil and criminal contempt is the same. When one is held guilty of contempt, they have the option to apologize to the court and save themselves from any other punishments. However, such an apology should be genuine and not merely a ruse to save oneself from punishment.