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Contempt of Courts Act, 1971

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HomeBrud.gifIndian LawBrud.gifIndian ActsBrud.gifContempt of Courts Act, 1971

Act 70 of 1971

An Act to define and limit the powers of certain courts in punishing contempt.


This is the first time that a statute was brought to deal with the concept of Contempt.

Sections of the Act

  • Section 1: Short title and extent
  • Section 2: Definitions
  • Section 3: Innocent publication and distribution of matter not contempt
  • Section 4: Fair and accurate report of judicial proceeding not contempt
  • Section 5: Fair criticism of judicial act not contempt
  • Section 16: Contempt by judge, magistrate or other person acting judicially
  • Section 17
  • Section 18
  • Section 19
  • Section 20
  • Section 21
  • Section 22
  • Section 23
  • Section 24


  • The objective of the act is to protect the dignity, integrity and veracity of the Courts and to safeguard the administration of Justice.
  • The Act does not give any power of review to the Court. The order of punishment is amenable to correction only in appeal. The Court's power is limited to remission of punishment awarded by it upon being satisfied with an apology as per the provisions of the Act.
  • The maximum punishment of a fine of Rs. 2000 or an imprisonment for six months or both is sometimes too small a punishment in contempt cases.

Related Cases / Recent Cases / Case Laws

  • Sujitendra Nath Singh Roy v State of West Bengal and Others, Civil Appeal Jurisdiction, Civil Appeal No 7535 OF 2011, Supreme Court of India judgement dated March 13, 2015 dealt with Tribunals and Contempt of Court
  • Supreme Court Bar Association vs Union of India, AIR 1998 SC 1895: In exercise of the contempt jurisdiction, the license of an advocate to practice legal profession cannot be suspended or cancelled.
  • Sk Mohammedbhikhan Hussainbhai v The Manager Chandrabhanu Cinema, AIR 1986 Guj 209: The Gujarat High Court has taken the view that if the High Court is an appellate court of some authority under a statute, such authority can be deemed to be a subordinate court within the ambit of Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 and, therefore, the High Court can exercise powers of dealing with contempt of such authority provided the act of contempt was not punishable for offences under Indian Penal Code.

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