NEW DELHI: The report also cites statistics to show “there are glaring occurrences of criminal contempt,” making all provisions of the Act relevant. According to the report, 568 criminal contempt cases and 96,310 civil contempt cases were pending in the high courts in the period July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017.
The Orissa High Court topped the list of criminal contempt, with 104 cases pending while the Allahabad High court led in civil cases, with a pendency of 25,370 cases.
Under the Contempt of Courts Act, judges of high courts and the Supreme Court can suo motu or on the basis of petitions initiate contempt proceedings against people who show disrespect to courts.
While stating that there is no scope of tinkering with the Act, the draft report states: “Members of the judiciary have always been conscious of the fact that this power should be exercised with meticulous care and caution and only in absolutely compelling circumstances warranting its exercise.”
Sources said the Law commission arrived at the conclusion of not suggesting any amendment to the Act after relying upon several Supreme Court judgments and by studying contempt laws in different countries such as Pakistan, England and the United states.