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POWER OF SUPREME COURT FOR ITS OWN CONTEMPT


POWER OF SUPREME COURT FOR ITS OWN CONTEMPT



SECTION 2(A) OF CONTEMPT OF COURTS ACT,1971

According to the Contempt of Court Act, 1971,Contempt of court means showing disrespect for the dignity and rights of a court.

Contempt of Court Act, 1971,The Act defines the power to punish for contempt and control the process of the courts.

This law was amended in 2006 to include the defense of truth under section 13.




HOW DOES THE SUPREME COURT GET THE POWER TO PUNISH FOR ITS CONTEMPT?

 

On 27 April 2020 (Monday), the Supreme Court suo moto contested petition (Criminal) No. 2 of 2019 RE. In the case of Vijay Kurle and others, three persons were convicted of contempt for 'outrageous and malicious' charges against the judges.

A bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Anirudh Bose awarded Vijay Kurle (State President, Maharashtra and Goa, Indian Bar Association), Rashid Khan Pathan (National Secretary, Human Rights Security Council) and Nilesh Ojha (National President, Indian Bar Association) for contempt. Convicted.

In fact, in March 2019, Justice R.V. on the order of conviction of lawyer Mathews Nedumpara for contempt. F. He has been convicted against Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran for 'disgusting and scandalous' charges. After discussing in detail the contents of the complaints filed, the bench found them in contempt.

 



POWER OF SUPREME COURT TO PUNISH FOR ITS CONTEMPT

Article 129 of the Constitution of India, it clearly states that the Supreme Court will be a court of record, and therefore being such a court, it will have all the powers of the Court of Record, including for its own contempt The power to punish would also be included.

Significantly, it is a constitutional power, which cannot be revoked in any way or by any law.



Further, Article 142 (2) of the Constitution provides that the Supreme Court may punish any person for contempt of himself and for that contempt, but this power of the Supreme Court is made by Parliament which Shall be subject to the provisions of any law.

It may be noted that on comparing the provisions of Article 129 and Clause (2) of Article 142, we find that where there is no limit on the power of the Supreme Court under Article 129, as per Article 142 (2) - The power of the Supreme Court (to be punished and investigated for contempt) shall be subject to any law made by Parliament.

The answer to this dilemma is that we have Suo Moto Contemporary Petition (Criminal) No.2 of 2019 RE. In the case of Vijay Kurle and others, the Supreme Court has given itself. In this case it has been held that the Supreme Court having the primary power to be a Court of Record does not derive from clause (2) of Article 142 of the Constitution, rather the Supreme Court derives it from Article 129.



However, Sukhdev Singh vs. Honorable C.J. s. In the case of Teja Singh and others AIR 1954 SCR 454, it was clarified that Article 129 of the Constitution shows that the Supreme Court has all the powers of the Court of Record, including the power to punish for contempt of its own is included.

 At the same time, Article 142 (2) goes a step further and enables the Supreme Court to investigate any contempt.

This case decided by the Supreme Court in the year 1954 can help the readers to overcome the dilemma between these two paragraphs.

 



 

WILL THE POWER OF THE SUPREME COURT BE SUBJECT TO THE LAW OF PARLIAMENT?

It should be noted that the 'Contempt of Court Act, 1971' has been enacted by the Parliament, according to which contempt of court means to show disrespect for the dignity and rights of a court. However, the power of the Supreme Court is not subject to this law of parliament.

 

Yes, it is necessary that Section 15 of this law prescribes the procedural mode for taking cognizance of criminal contempt by the Supreme Court. But even then, Section 15 cannot be said to be a source of power to issue notice by the Supreme Court for contempt.

This section provides only the process in which such contempt is to be initiated and this section states that there are 3 ways to initiate contempt. Before this we have made it clear in this article that no such restriction exists in Article 129 that this power of the Supreme Court will be subject to the law made by the Parliament.

And since the Supreme Court does not have the primary power to be a court of record from clause (2) of Article 142 of the Constitution, rather the power of the Supreme Court comes from Article 129, it is obvious that the Supreme Court has its own contempt The power to punish (contempt) is not subject to the law of Parliament.

 

It is also logical in itself that the power of the Supreme Court to punish for contempt of itself is a constitutional power, and such a power cannot be abolished or limited by a legislative act.

 


In the case of Supreme Court Bar Association v. Union of India & Others (1998) 4 SCC 409, the Supreme Court had also clarified that the use of legislative power of Parliament and State Legislature, in respect of cases involving contempt by the Supreme Court or High Court Can be done to make laws.

 

Such law, however, cannot be used to repeal, snatch or imprison the Supreme Court's power to punish for contempt under Article 129, or assign this power to any other court.

The vesting of the power to punish for contempt in a court of record, suggests that no Act of Parliament can subvert the inherent power of the Court of Record to punish for contempt.

 

Such a law, however, can act as a guide for determining the nature of punishment. However, Parliament has not yet enacted any law dealing with the powers of investigation and punishment of its own contempt of Supreme Court - Supreme Court Bar Association v Union of India & Others (1998) 4 SCC 409.

 

Finally, it is important for us to know that Suo Moto Contemporary Petition (Criminal) No. 2 of 2019 RE. In the case of Vijay Kurle and others, the Supreme Court has clearly observed that - the Supreme Court's power to punish for its own contempt is not subject to the provisions of the 1971 Act framed by Parliament.

Therefore, the only requirement for a court is that it follows a procedure which is just and is in accordance with the rules fixed by this court.

 

 


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