Contempt of Court (Contempt of Court). Which is called contempt of court in Bengali. It is a serious crime in the eyes of the law. A person convicted of contempt of court can be jailed for three months. If someone behaves disrespectfully towards the court and judges, he is held to be in contempt of court.
A Calcutta High Court judge issued a warning, some say, a threat to a top politician and MP from the state. If the politician criticizes the judiciary again, he will be jailed for three months.
Whether such a comment befits a judge’s face is a different debate. However, the role of judges in the public mind is that they will judge them by staying away from disputes and controversies. He would dispense justice from the role of an observer, keeping himself aloof from the larger public life. In performing that role, the powers enshrined in the constitution and laws are the source of his power. And power, right is such a power, the more it is asserted, the lighter the burden. Rights, respect and dignity associated with power are lost.
Only humans make mistakes. Justice is no exception. As his mistake cannot be exceptional.
Can someone be punished for contempt of court just by criticizing the judge or the judicial system?
The question is very old. It has been going on since the birth of independent India. It has come back again after seeing a Calcutta High Court judge flaunting it in front of the TV camera.
Historically, on May 18, 1951, the then Provisional Parliament debated the Constitution Amendment Bill. At the time, BR Ambedkar commented that the two Supreme Court judgments in Madras v. Chapkam Dorairajan and Benkataramana v. Madras were ‘ultimately unsatisfactory’. The Provisional Parliament reprimanded him for criticizing the Supreme Court. What Ambedkar said in his reply is memorable.
In his words, ‘I am obliged to accept the judge’s verdict. But I am not bound to respect his judgment. Every lawyer has the right to tell the judge that your verdict is not right. I am not willing to give up that right.’
Former Supreme Court Justice VR Krishna Iyer was invited to the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Kerala High Court in 1981. He said in the speech, ‘Jesus is often crucified in our country. Barabbas is not punished. The judiciary is also to some extent responsible for this.’ In the New Testament of the Bible, a notorious criminal named Barabbas was also brought to court during the trial of Jesus Christ. The Roman governor sentenced Jesus to death. But he released Barabbas. Referring to Barabbas, the ex-judge meant that good people are often punished because of judicial negligence. But the criminals get away with it.
After these comments, there was a strong debate that should the former judge be punished for contempt of court? At the end, the Kerala High Court commented, ‘If someone criticizes the court modestly, it cannot be held that the court has been held in contempt. No institution in a democracy is above criticism.’
Contempt of court has been debated several times after this. In 2010, Justice VR Krishna Iyer wrote in an article that if bureaucrats or public representatives abuse their power, the court can enjoin it. But there is only one way to reform the judiciary and judges. That is human criticism.
One thing is clear from these debates. Judiciary in a democratic country is not above criticism. Courts like other institutions run on public money. If we don’t like any of his judgments, we can criticize. But it is definitely not desirable to say that in the name of criticism.
If you have something to say against a judge’s ruling, say it politely. Metho speech should not go beyond the limits to excite people. It is undesirable, undesirable behavior for a judge to play the role of a metho politician.
Duty of duty