1) Introduction 

             In general parlance the term "Contempt" Signifies disrespect to which entitled to legal regard. Its hard to define Contempt of Court Even the Definition of Contempt of Court in the Contempt of Court Act 1971 is not real definition but merely classification of contempt of Court. classifications of contempt of court is also not exhaustive but enumeration.  What amounts to contempt of court depends upon the fact of the case.
2) Definition of Contempt of Court : 

Lord Russel has defined the Expression " Contempt of Court" as, "Any act done or writing published calculated to bring a court or a Judge of the Court into Contempt or lower his authority, is one class of contempt further, an act is done or writing published calculated to obstruct or interfere with due course of the courts, is another class of the Contempt of Court."

Halsbury Laws of England defines Contempt of Court as, " Any act done or writing published which calculated to bring a court or Judge into contempt or lowering authority or inference with due course or lawful process of the court is the contempt of Court."

According to Oswald " Contempt of Court may be said to be constituted by any conduct that tends to bring the authority and administration of law into disrespect or disregard or to interfere with or prejudice parties to litigation or their witnesses during the litigation.

      The Contempt of Court cannot be defined exhaustively. According to Section 2(a) of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971 Contempt of Courts means, Civil Contempt or Criminal Contempt. 
The above definition of contempt of Court contained in the Contempt of Court Act  1971is merely the classification of Contempt of Court.

3) Categories of Contempt of Court : 

According to Section 2(a) of Contempt of Courts Act 1971, there are two categories of Contempt of Courts 1) Civil Contempt and 2) Criminal Contempt

A) Civil Contempt : 

Clause (b) of Section 2 defines  “Civil contempt” means willful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other processes of a court or willful breach of an undertaking given to a court.  

B) Criminal Contempt  

Subsection (c) of Section 2 of the said Act provides that  “Criminal contempt” means the publication whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which -

                              (i) Scandalizes or tends to scandalize, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court, or
                              (ii) Prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with the due course of any judicial proceeding, or

                              (iii) Interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.

See also

1) Contempt of court : Defences in Criminal Contempt

2) Contempt of Courts by Lawyers

3) Advocate's Duty to render legal aid

4) Punishment for Contempt of Court.

5) Constitutional validity of the contempt of Courts Act, 1971


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