Types of contempt of courts -
Section 2(A) of The Contempt of courts Act,1971 , provides that contempt of court means civil contempt or criminal contempt .
contempt of court classified mainly in two categories
1) Civil contempt of courts,and
2) Criminal contempt of Court
The willful disobedience to the order of court is considered civil contempt, while the scandalizing or lowering the authority of the court in the public eye is considered criminal contempt. The classification or categorization of contempt of court into Civil and criminal are not closed. There are several contempt which do not fall in any of them. for example, undue delay in pronouncing the order by a judge or judge coming late to the court by amount to contempt of court, but they are not covered exactly by the definition of classification of contempt in the act .
1) Civil contempt-
According to section 2 (b) of The Contempt of court Act, 1971, civil contempt means "willful disobedience to any judgement, decree, direction , order, writ or other process of a court or willful breach of an undertaking given to the Court . "
Thus Civil contempt consist of disobeying the orders and process of the court .Civil contempt involves only the willful disobedience of the courts order or breach of undertaking given to the court. The purpose of the proceeding for the Civil contempt is not only to punish the container but also to exercise enforcement and obedience to the order of the court .
civil contempt serves two purposes -
1) Vindication of the public interest by punishment of contemptuous conduct; and
2) coercion to compel the container to do what the court requires of him.
To constitutes 'civil contempt' the following things are required to be proved :
A) there is disobedience of the order, decree etc. of the court or breach of undertaking given to the court ;and
B) the disobedience of Breach Is Wilful.
for civil contempt it is necessary that order which has been disobeyed must have been passed by the court having jurisdiction to pass such order. If the order has been passed without jurisdiction , it is not binding on the party against which it has been Passed by the and therefore disobedience of such order will not amount to contempt of Court. The burden to prove that the court has no jurisdiction to pass the order lies on the person who alleges it.
When the court orders a person to do something or not to do something, it is incumbent on that party to comply with that order forthwith. The person disobeying the order of the court will alone be responsible for the consequence and he cannot be heard to say that he referred the matter to his higher officer.
The breach of undertaking given to the court is also taken as contempt, if it is wilful. the basis for taking the breach of undertaking as contempt of court is that the container by making a false representation to the court obtains a benefit for himself and if he fails to Honour the undertaking, he plays a serious fraud on the Court itself and thereby obstructs the course of justice and brings disrepute to the judicial institution. But the breach of undertaking recorded are forming part of compromise decree, would not amount to contempt of court.
For civil contempt , the disobedience of the order, decree, etc .of the court or breach of undertaking given to The Court Must Be willful . Willful means the action or state for which compulsion of ignorance or accident cannot be pleaded as excuse, intentional, deliberate, due to perversity or self-will. To establish that the disobedience is willful , it is not necessary to show that it is contumacious in the sense that there is a direct intention to disobey the order; it is sufficient to show that effective administration of justice requires some penalty for disobedience to the order of the court ,if it is a more than casual, accidental or unintentional .
The reasons of the Civil contempt is willful disobedience to any judgement degree , direction, order, or writ of a court, and not Mere inaction to give effect to it . The conduct of the alleged contemner must be willful showing deliberate and conscious disregard of the court order . or a despising or disdainful attitude towards the verdict of the court .
If a party who has full knowledge of the order of the court or is conscious and aware of the consequences and implications of the court's order, ignores it or acts in violation of the courts order, it must be held that disobedience is willful.
Whether the disobedience has been wilful or not It is an issue to be decided by the court, taking into account the facts the circumstances of the case.
2) Criminal contempt -
According to Section 2(c) of The Contempt of courts Act, 1971 , "criminal contempt" means the publication ( whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs ,or by visible representations, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other Act whatsoever which -
I) scandalize or tends to scandalize, or lower or tends to lower, the authority of any Court ;or
II) prejudice or interfere or tents to interfere with, the due course of any judicial proceeding ; or
III) interface or tends to interfere with or obstructs, tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.
Criminal contempt is a conduct directed against dignity of Court.
Criminal contempt is directed against the power and dignity of the court. The definition of criminal contempt is wide enough to include any act of a person which would tend to interfere with the administration of justice or with which would lower to the authority of the court.
To constitute the criminal contempt it is not necessary that the publication or other acts should have actually resulted in scandalizing or lowering the authority of the court but it is enough that the act is likely to result in scandalizing. Thus the offense of contempt is complete by mere attempt and does not depend on actual deflection of Justice .
'Scandalize' connotes to speak falsely, or maliciously, to bring into approach ,dishonor, disgrace, to offend the feelings, conscious or property of an action. ' scandalize' also means to offend a moral feeling, and to make a public scandal of, to utter false or malicious reports of a person's conduct, slander, or to bring same or discredit or to disgrace . We can say that the disgraceful word scandalize means the defamatory , derogatory, false malicious disgraceful statements regarding the persons as Judges.
It is for the court to decide whether or not the publication or act is likely to scandalize or lower the authority of the court or interfere with due course of any judicial proceeding for administration of justice.
The publication act will be taken as criminal contempt, if it has resulted in scandalizing the authority of court or interference with the due course of judicial proceedings or interfering the administration of justice in any matter.
The word ' Publication ' was given very wide meaning . The publication may be by words written or spoken by sign's or by visible representations or otherwise of any matter. but in the Act it is not clear as to whether the publication should be taken to mean Publication to the general public or any kind of Publication.
Scandalizing the court means any hostile criticism of the judge ; any Personal attack on him unconnected with the office he holds, is dealt with under the ordinary rules of Slender and libel. The criticism can form the basis for committal of contempt of court only if it is made against the judge in exercise of his judicial function.
The publication which prejudice or interferes with or tends to interfere with, the due course of any judicial proceeding is taken as contempt of court . Whenever the publication or any other act unduly influences the result of a litigation it is treated as criminal contempt of court and a punished therefore .
If the parties to a pending proceeding are abused and vilified and the words are likely to cause prejudice to the case, it will amount to contempt of court.
The publication of doing of any other act which interferes or tend to interfere with or obstructs or tend to obstruct the administration of justice in any of other manner is also taken as contempt of court .
An Advocate is an officer of the court and hence undue interference with the Advocate in the discharge of his professional functions amount to contempt of court .
Any conduct by which course or Justice is prevented either by a party or a stranger is a contempt of court. Any person who interfere or prevent other person from coming to the stream of justice is he liable for contempt of Court. The Court must be very careful in analyzing the facts and circumstances of the case for determining whether or not the action taken by a person amounts to interfere with the course of Justice.
Witnesses are also integral part of the judicial process and they must have freedom to perform their duties and so interference with performance of their duties is taken as contempt of Court
Abuse of the process of court calculated to hamper the due course hamper of judicial proceedings or the administration of Justice amounts to contempt of court.