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SC should decide on intra-court appeal in suo motu contempt case

20th August, 2020 Polity


  • Civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan was recently convicted in a Suo motu contempt proceedings by a three-judge Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra for his tweets.
  • Former Supreme Court judge, Justice Kurian Joseph, said the court should decide whether a person convicted in a suo-motu contempt case should be granted an intra-court appeal as a safeguard “to avoid even the remotest possibility of miscarriage of justice”.

What is intra-court appeal?

  • Under Section 19 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, an intra-court appeal is provided where the order is passed by the single Judge of the High Court and in case it is by the Division Bench, appeal lies to the Supreme Court of India

Arguments for intra-court appeal:

  • Suo-motu contempt proceedings, which involved substantial questions of law and fundamental rights, should be heard by a Constitution Bench.
  • Article 145 (3) of the Constitution mandated that there should be a quorum of minimum five judges for deciding any case involving substantial questions of law.

Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 and Contempt of court:

Section 2 (a) to this act defines two categories of Contempt of court, namely, civil contempt and criminal contempt.

The preamble to this act states that this is an act;

  • To define and limit the powers of certain courts;
  • In punishing contempt of courts; and
  • To regulate the process required to be followed in achieving the purpose of the act.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-should-decide-on-intra-court-appeal-in-suo-motu-contempt-case-ex-judge-kurian/article32392673.ece