Contempt Jurisdiction II / The Revival of Ray XV

It is high time we re-arranged our law so that the ancient but misleading term ‘Contempt of Court’ disappeared from the law’s vocabulary [Lord Scarman, Attorney-General v. British Broadcasting Corporation, [1980] 3 All ER 161].

It is important to remember that while considering the question of disobedience of an Order, what must be regarded is the letter and the spirit of the Order, together with the bona fide or genuine belief of the alleged contemnor as to such Order [Lakshman Prasad Agarwal v. Syed Mohammad Kareem, 2009 (6) SCALE 413].

Senior Advocate, Shri Dushyant Dave pointed out that this Court had, in Chhaganbhai Norsinbhai v. Soni Chandubhai Gordhanbhai, (1976) 2 SCC 951 held that in cases of perverse and deliberate flouting of undertakings, the High Court rightly observed that it had no option except to convict and sentence to imprisonment, with which this Court agreed.

We are of the view ‘Contempt of Court’ needs to purged by payment; in default of such payment by imprisonment.

Hon’ble Justice R.F. Nariman, Reliance Communication Ltd. v. State Bank of India, [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 845 of 2018].


My Lord, Chhaganbhai Norsinbhai, (1976) 2 SCC 951?

A.N. Ray, Chief Justice of India.

Justice Jaswant Singh.

Justice M. Hameedullah Beg.