What is ‘contempt of court’, and why does the A-G have to consent to these proceedings?
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Kunal Kamra, a stand-up comedian, will face contempt of court charges for his tweets following the Supreme Court's decision to grant interim bail to television anchor Arnab Goswami.
Contempt of court
- According to the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, contempt of court can either be civil contempt or criminal contempt.
- Civil contempt means wilful disobedience of any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court, or wilful breach of an undertaking given to a court.
- Criminal contempt, on the other hand, is attracted by 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:
- scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court; or
- prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with, the due course of any judicial proceeding; or
- interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.
- In 2006, the government brought in an amendment, which now provides “truth” as defence provided it is bona fide and in public interest.