Jan
10
2017


There is, nothing in Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 or in Article 215 of Constitution which can be said to empower High Court to initiate proceedings suo-motu or otherwise for contempt of a superior Court like the Supreme Court of India. As a matter of fact, Supreme Court under Article 129 and High Court under Article 215 of Constitution are both declared to be Courts of Record. One of recognised attributes of a Court of record is power to punish for its contempt and contempt of courts subordinate to it. Use of expression "including" in said provisions is explanatory in character. It signifies that, Supreme Court and High Courts shall, as Courts of Records, exercise all such powers as are otherwise available to them including power to punish for their own contempt. 
Power to punish for contempt vested in a Court of Record under Article 215 however, does not extend to punishing for contempt of a superior Court. Such a power has never been recognised as an attribute of a Court of record nor has same been specifically conferred upon High Courts under Article 215.

Supreme Court

Vitusah Oberoi and ors. vs. Court of its own motion

02.01.2017








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