Feb 24, 2022

State vs. State: Odisha initiates Contempt of Court action against Andhra Pradesh

The Odisha government has started contempt of court proceedings against Andhra Pradesh in the Supreme Court for violating the Court’s order regarding an inter-State border dispute over the Kotia panchayat.


What is contempt of court?

Contempt of court simply means disrespecting the court in any way. In India, anyone can be punished by the court if they disrespect the court or show contempt towards courts or their directions.


What are the types of contempt of court?

There are two types of contempt of court: Civil contempt and Criminal contempt.


Civil contempt:


If someone deliberately disobeys any judgment, direction, order, or other process of the court, then they are disrespecting the court and this is civil contempt. Also, if someone purposely violates an undertaking (breaks an agreement or a promise) that they have given to the court, it is civil contempt of court.


Criminal contempt:


Criminal contempt of court happens when a person disrespects the court by publishing anything, attempting to or doing something that: 

  • Scandalizes or lowers the authority of any court 
  • Influences or interferes with any judicial proceeding (like a legal case being heard by the court) 
  • Obstructs the judicial process in any other way


What is not considered as contempt of court?

People can publish fair and accurate reports of court proceedings related to any pending legal case, unless this has been prohibited by the court. Publishing a fair analysis of any final judgement given by the court after deciding a case is also permitted.


What is the punishment for contempt of court? 

If someone disrespects the court through civil or criminal contempt of court, the punishment is jail time for up to six months and/or a fine up to Rupees 2,000. The punishment may be cancelled if the person apologises to the court and the court is satisfied with the apology.