Contempt of Court: No Contempt Proceedings if Charges have not been Framed- SC


September 06, 2018

In this recent case the Two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra has categorically held that there cannot be any contempt proceedings against the contemnor if formal charges had not been framed.

Case name: R.S. Sehrawat v. Rajeev Malhotra & ors.

In the case, the appellant assailed the conviction orders passed by the Division Bench of the High Court of Delhi against the appellant under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. The High Court in the case convicted the appellant on the ground that the acts of the appellant tended to substantially interfere with the due course of justice and amounted to committing criminal contempt of court for having filed incorrect affidavit.

The Supreme Court in the case allowed the appeal noting that the appellant was not served with any charges muchless specific charge which he was expected to meet.

The Supreme Court in the case while acquitting the appellant relied on its judgment in the case of Sahdeo Alias Sahdeo Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Others, wherein the Court held that contempt proceedings being quasi-criminal in nature, the same standard of proof is required in the same manner as in other criminal cases. The alleged contemnor is to be informed as to what is the charge, he has to meet. Thus, specific charge has to be framed in precision.

The entire case can be accessed here.