Contempt Jurisdiction V / The Revival of Ray L

Justice Krishna Iyer, in his inimitable style, has observed, a wise economy of use of the contempt power by the Court is the first rule. The Court should act with seriousness and severity, where justice is jeopardized by a gross and/or unfounded attack on the Judges, where the attack is calculated to obstruct or destroy the judicial process. Otherwise, the Court should ignore, by a majestic liberalism, trifling and venial offences. He says the dogs may bark, the caravan will pass. He opined, if the Court considers, after evaluating the totality of factors, the attack on the Judge or Judges scurrilous, offensive, intimidatory or malicious beyond condonable limits, the strong arm of the law must, in the name of public interest and public justice, strike a blow on him who challenges the supremacy of the rule of law by fouling its source and stream.

The observations of the Constitution Bench in Supreme Court Bar Association v. Union of India, (1998) 4 SCC 409 reiterate the legal position, contempt jurisdiction, which is a special jurisdiction, has to be exercised sparingly and with caution. When a statement is calculated in order to malign the image of Judiciary, the Court would not remain a silent spectator. When the authority of this Court is itself under attack, the Court would not be an onlooker. The word ‘authority’, as explained by Wilmot, CJ and approved by the Constitution Bench of this Court in Baradakanta Mishra, does not mean the coercive power of the Judges but a deference and respect which is paid to them and their acts.

The tweets which are based on the distorted facts, in our considered view, amount to…

Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, In Re: Prashant Bhushan, [Suo Motu Contempt Petition (Criminal) No. 1 of 2020].

My Lord, Judges in Baradakanta Mishra v. The Registrar of Orissa High Court, (1974) 1 SCC 374?

Five. Hon’ble Judges D.G. Palekar, Y.V. Chandrachud, P.N. Bhagwati, V.R. Krishna Iyer. Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Justice A.N. Ray.