Why in News?
The state govt. of UP will soon move to Supreme Court against the order by Allahabad High Court ordering them to put stringent lockdown in the state. The refusal to obey the orders would lead to contempt of court.
About Contempt of Court:
- The Contempt of Courts Act 1971 has defined the civil and criminal contempt.
- It also lays down the powers and procedures with which courts can penalise contempt, and also the penalties that can be given for the offence of contempt.
- Contempt of court is described to be of two kinds:
- Civil Contempt: Willful disobedience of a court order/judgment or willful breach of an undertaking submitted to the court.
- Criminal Contempt: It includes any written or spoken word or any act
- that scandalises the court, or
- lowers its authority or prejudices, or
- interferes with the due course of a judicial proceedings, or
- interferes in the administration of justice.
- Article 129 and 215 empowers the Supreme Court and High Court respectively to punish people for their respective contempt.
- The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971defines the power of the High Court to punish contempts of its subordinate courts.
- Contempt of Court is also included as a reasonable restriction to the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19.
Role of Attorney general (AG) in contempt cases:
Consent of AG:
- The AG’s consent is mandatory if a private citizen wants to initiate a case of contempt of court against any other person.
- However, if the court itself initiates a contempt case the AG’s consent is not mandatory. It is so because the court is exercising its inherent powers under the Article 129/215 to punish for contempt.
If AG denies Consent:
- If the AG denies consent, the matter ends.
- The complainant can still separately bring the issue to the notice of court urging the court to take suo motu
NOTE: The reason behind requiring the consent of the AG before taking cognizance of any complaint is to save the time of the court.