Begin with the definition of contempt, which implies shame or dishonor. Contempt of Parliament or contempt of congress refers to a contemptuous attitude toward parliament or a legislative body. The same coin applies to the courts in general, where disrespect or disobedience towards the court of law and meddling with the authority of judicial officials is known as contempt of court.
Every law is created for society, it is a sui generis offense, while in society every individual is protected by some of the other laws, we have basic rights, the citizenship act, the motor vehicle acts, so this was mainly established to have laws and orders and to preserve the judiciary’s authority.
Movies or performances showing just for entertainment purposes where the actor is screaming and insulting the judge or the court in order to draw attention may be a wonderful example of contempt of court; in fact, this could not be done and if it is, there is a penalty for the same.
This disdain may be traced back to English law. The right of the Indian high courts to punish a person was first recognized by the privy council in the judicial committee, 1926 the contempt of court act came into existence which now has been amended till then it gives the powers to the court of and about how much punishment the judge can give for the contempt of court
The adoption of this legislation and the imposition of penalties under it at the outset raised concerns that they infringed the fundamental rights of personal liberty and freedom of speech and expression, which are enshrined in articles 21 and 19(1) of the Indian Constitution of 1950, respectively. Because even the preamble incorporates the fundamental structure  of our constitution, which includes LIBERTY OF THOUGHT AND EXPRESSION. As a result of this, a committee was formed under the leadership of the then-additional solicitor general, and the significance of free speech and expression was emphasized.
Types of Court Contempt
The contempt of court is not explicitly stated in the Indian laws, however section 2(a) of The Contempt of Courts, 1971 states:
Civil or criminal contempt of court is referred to as contempt of court. Civil and criminal contempt are defined in sections 2(b) and 2(c) of The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. As a result, disdain cannot be described in a limited manner. As a result, anybody who offends the court’s dignity or reputation is what the court must decide within their authority after considering the facts and circumstances.
In India, there are two kinds of contempt: civil contempt and criminal contempt. The goal of this is to aid in the administration of the courts.
The act defines intentional disobedience to a court’s judgment, decree, directive, order, writ, or similar procedure as well as a willful violation of an undertaking made to a court.
Willful violation of an undertaking made to a court constitutes civil contempt under Section 2(b) of the Contempt of Courts Act. Because the respondents violated the promise made to the Supreme Court in the consent conditions, they are obviously responsible for contempt of court. 
Dharam Godha and Others vs. Ashok Paper Kamgar Union and Others. It states the definition of wilful in this instance, which is an act or omission done deliberately with a particular reason to do something that the law prohibits or fails to do something that the law requires to be done, with the aim of ignoring or disrespecting the law.
The act defines publishing (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, visual representation, or otherwise) of any content or the performance of any other act whatever as:
- Scandalizes or seeks to scandalize any court, or diminishes or tends to diminish the authority of any court, or
- Prejudices interfere with, or threatens to interfere with the proper conduct of any judicial action, or
- Interferes or seeks to interfere with the administration of justice in any other way, or obstructs or tends to obstruct the administration of justice in any other way.
After consulting the definition of criminal contempt in Section 2(c) of the Act, the court determined that the language employed in the definition is taken from the English Law of contempt and contains certain ideas known to that law, which was generally used in India.
The expressions scandalized, lowering the authority of the court, interference, obstruction, and administration of justice have all entered our subcontinent’s legal currency and must be understood in the sense in which they have so far been understood by our courts with the assistance of English Law, where necessary.
The main purpose and principle of criminal contempt of court are to uphold the power and dignity of the courts in the eyes of the people and even the law, so that no one can easily undermine it by any means of written or spoken which tends to hamper the administration of justice or lowers the authority of any court, it amounts to criminal contempt of court. The integrity and authority of the courts, as well as its administration, are being questioned by society.
After reading this definition, defamation must have crossed some people’s thoughts, since it is fundamental legal information to know when someone drags down the reputation of another person, in this case, the court. However, there is a distinction between criminal contempt of court and criminal defamation since the right to reputation is protected by article 21, which also guarantees the right to life. It has been argued that the right to reputation is a component of the right to life and that it is entrenched in Article 21 of the Constitution.
On the one hand, a person exercising their basic right to free speech and expression may, at some point, interfere with the court of legal processes. There may be instances when one is just asking a question, while the other party has been defamed. It is entirely up to the judge to draw a distinction between the two. With the goal of safeguarding society as a whole against situations like these, which cause people to lose faith in the legal system, the idea of punishment was developed.
Penalty for Contempt of Court
The judges have the authority to penalize for contempt of court, not for administrative purposes or for their own personal safety, but for the sake of public justice. Section 12 of The Contempt of Court Act, 1971 provides for simple imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to two thousand rupees, or both, for contempt of court.
Article 129 of the Indian Constitution defines contempt of court
According to the Indian Constitution of 1949, the Supreme Court is to be a court of record. The Supreme Court shall be a court of record with all the powers of a court of record, including the authority to penalize for contempt of itself.
The phrase “court of record” is not defined in the constitution. This phrase is defined in Halsbury’s law of England as follows:
Whether a court is a court of record or not depends on whether it has the authority to punish or jail for contempt of court or other substantive crimes. Courts of record are those that have been explicitly designated as such by law or by the implication of a statute. That is, courts of record at common law have the legislative authority to fine or jail, while courts of record at common law do not. 
According to the Supreme Court in re Vinay Chandra Mishra and judicial service association v state of Gujarat, the supreme court’s power to penalize for contempt is independent of the legislative law of contempt established by parliament under entry 77 of list 1 of the seventh schedule. It’s one-of-a-kind. It is not governed by any law. Neither the contempt of courts act nor the advocates act may be used to limit it. Article 142 jurisdiction and authority are supplemental to complete justice. Article 129 empowers the supreme court to penalize contempt not only of itself but also of high courts and subordinate courts.
Article 215 requires the high court to be a court of record:
Whether article 215 announces the high court’s pre-existing authority as a court of record or imparts the power inherent in a court of record, the jurisdiction is unique and does not arise or originate from the Contempt of Courts Act of 1952.
Ordinary law cannot limit the supreme or high court’s ability to penalize for contempt. This ability should be utilized cautiously.  The power to penalize for contempt is intended to preserve the majesty of the law and the administration of justice, not to defend the dignity and honor of the individual judge who has been personally insulted or scandalized. The faith and confidence of the people in the judiciary’s capacity to administer courageous and impartial justice is its basis. 
Section 141 states that the law proclaimed by the Supreme Court is obligatory on all courts within India’s jurisdiction. When a high court judgment is overturned by the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court’s decision becomes the law of the country and, by virtue of Article 141, becomes binding on all courts in India’s territory, including the high court.
Contempt of court is committed mainly for the purpose of safeguarding society since the judiciary is held in high regard by the public for its capacity to provide courageous and unbiased verdicts. For better service, this authority should be delegated to subordinate courts as well as the high courts.
Written by Somesh Vaidya
- Paramjit Kaur vs State Of Punjab & Ors on 10 September 1998
- Keshavananda Bharti v. State of Kerala & Minerva mills ltd. v. Union of India.
- Section 2 (b) of The Contempt of Courts Act 1971
- Rama Narang vs Ramesh Narang & Another
- AIR 2004 SC 105
- Section 2(c) of the contempt of courts act 1971
- In Re: Arundhati Roy vs Unknown on 6 March 2002
- State of Bihar v. Lal Krishna Advani & Others (2003) 8 SCC 361
- Halsbury’s Laws of England (2nd ed) p.527
- (1995) 2. SCC 584
- (1991) 4 SCC 406
- Ibid., at p.859
- Pritam pal v high court of MP AIR 1992 SC 904
- In re Arundhati Roy AIR 2002 SC 1375, 1379