Contempt of Court versus Freedom of Speech

Author: Srishti Sharma from IIMT and School of Law to GGSIPU, Content Writer


As of late, the Supreme Court has held the backer Prashant Bhushan as liable of disdain of court for his two tweets reprimanding the legal executive.

Bhushan's first tweet related to an image of Chief Justice SA Bobde in which he is seen sitting on a very good quality cruiser. In the subsequent tweet, Bhushan offered an input on the job of the last four boss judges of India with regards to the situation in the nation.

The arrangement of scorn of court is important to keep up the holiness of the Judiciary in the open eye. Be that as it may, numerous protected specialists and common society have reprimanded the summon of disdain of court arrangements, on the grounds of uncertainty in the legitimate arrangements and assertion.

What is Contempt of Court?

Sacred Provisions: Article 129 and 215 of the Constitution of India enables the Supreme Court and High Court individually to rebuff individuals for their separate disdain.

Article 142 of the Indian Constitution likewise enables the court to rebuff for its scorn. Anyway what is disdain of court fundamentally has not been characterized by the Indian Constitution.

Statutory Provisions: The Contempt of Court Act, 1971 extravagantly manages the idea of disdain of court.

Area 10 of The Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 characterizes the intensity of the High Court to rebuff disdains of its subordinate courts.

The Contempt of Court Act, 1971

As per section 2 of the Act, Contempt can be of two sorts which are Civil and Criminal.

Civil Contempt: Under Section 2(b) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971, common scorn has been characterized as wilful insubordination to any judgment, order, course, request, writ or different cycle of a court or wilful penetrate of an endeavor given to a court.

Criminal Contempt: Under Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971, criminal scorn has been characterized as the distribution (regardless of whether by words, spoken or composed, or by signs, or by noticeable portrayal, or something else) of any issue or the doing of some other demonstration at all which:

Outrages or will in general embarrass, or brings or tends down to bring down the authority of, any court, or Biases, or meddles or will in general meddle with the proper method of any legal continuing, orMeddles or will in general meddle with, or blocks or will in general deter, the organization of equity in some other way.

The Supreme Court and High Courts have the ability to rebuff for scorn of court, either with straightforward detainment for a term as long as a half year or with fine up to 2,000 or with both.

The Court's Judgment

Obstruction: It dismissed the contention that the tweet has not so much meddled with organization of equity. Nonetheless, the court depended on past decisions by the Supreme Court to start the procedures against the promoter.

It held that it isn't important to demonstrate positively that there has been genuine obstruction with the organization of equity. In the event that a disparaging proclamation is probably going to meddle with the correct organization of equity, at that point it very well may be a ground for disdain.

Additionally, the remarks that can have an inescapable impact of subverting the certainty of general society in the legal executive, can be a ground for disdain.

Scandalizing of Court: Regarding what comprises the 'embarrassing of court' the court had just held that the genuine test is to decide if the attack is of the adjudicator as an appointed authority, or as a person.

On the off chance that the last mentioned, the appointed authority is left to his private cures, and the court has no capacity to submit for scorn. For learning great confidence and the open premium, the courts need to see all the encompassing conditions including the individual answerable for remarks, his insight in the field, and the proposed reason.

The Dichotomy and the Arbitrariness Anyway there have been issues of intervention and understanding of the word outraging court.

The articulation "embarrassing the court" has not been characterized.

The court likewise held that reasonable analysis of judges, whenever made in accordance with some basic honesty in broad daylight intrigue, isn't scorn. In any case, how to find out great confidence is the million-dollar question as the Act has not characterized it also.

When Arun Jaitley, the late priest had said that there are two sorts of judges, one who knows Law and the other who realizes Law serve, it was not taken as scorn. He had likewise commented that pre retirement decisions are enlivened by the post retirement occupations.

At the point when 4 adjudicators in 2018 held a public interview and scrutinized the respectability of the CJI and the court, it was not taken as disdain.

For a situation including Bhushan himself in 2001, procedures against him were dropped. The Supreme Court had held that individual analysis of an appointed authority doesn't add up to "reasonable analysis".

Another inquiry is that can a simple tweet truly hinder the organization of equity, and whether legal nobility is delicate to such an extent that it would get brought down in develop Indian individuals' eyes in view of a lobbyist legal advisor's conclusion?

In Shiv Shankar (1988), the Supreme Court held that an analysis of the court that doesn't disable and hamper the organization of equity can't be rebuffed as hatred.


Prashant Bhushan judgment gives a feeling that the court regarded Bhushan's tweets as the event for the Court to utilize its muscle and clarify that it won't endure analysis. It sends a chilling impact to the protected right of the right to speak freely of discourse and articulation.

The Court, whom we have consistently broadcasted to be the protector of the right to speak freely, has by its judgment shortened that very opportunity by the activity of its hatred locale, a ward where the Court is judge, casualty and examiner.

The court additionally raised long term old scorn argument against him. That Bhushan's remarks had not brought down the Court's regard or brought it into offensiveness for a long time, that it didn't justify removal during a pandemic when matters of far more prominent significance were forthcoming.


The privilege to discourse and articulation is a key right ensured by the constitution

itself. There must be a harmony between the privilege to discourse and the court's capacity to rebuff its analysis.

In a free commercial center each wing of the State must be available to open analysis. The Judiciary can't cut an exceptional status for itself on the grounds that in India each wing of the state is discrete and equivalent. The law is a pilgrim heritage and even England and the USA have maintained opportunity to discourse over the Judicial analysis.

Huge numbers of the created nations have nullified the embarrassing of court as scorn thus Indian courts too should think about this suggestion.

In the expressions of Lord Atkin, "equity is certainly not a secluded righteousness". Ruler Denning had said that he could never utilize the hatred purview to maintain his own pride for "that must lay on surer establishments". In words that bear redundancy, he stated: "We don't fear analysis, nor do we despise it. For there is something unquestionably more significant in question. It is no not as much as the right to speak freely of discourse itself."

In other case, the Gujarat High Court Suo Motu charges senior Advocate Mr. Yatin Ozafor contempt For the allegations against the court registry,not the judges.

How far these allegations constitute contempt of court and whether these allegations hold any water or not is another thing altogether but the Gujarat HC decided to withdraw Mr. Oza's seniority and later the honorable Supreme Court refused to interfere into the matter and asked Gujarat HC to decide and close the matter observing that senior lawyers should respect the institution for the youngsters to learn.

Not to forget, Mr. Oza did tender his unconditional apology to the HC as well to the SC for the statements he made in the press conference, in spite of that, the full court of Gujarat HC rejected his apology in plea to re-confer his Senior gown just 5 days ago.