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Contempt of Court Act, 1976 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Sections

Contents

 

1

Short title, extent and commencement

 

2

Interpretation

 

3

Contempt of Court

 

4

Punishment

 

5

Jurisdiction

 

6

Penalty

 

7

Procedure for Supreme Court and High Court

 

8

Transfer of proceedings for reasons personal to the Judge

 

9

Proceedings in camera and prohibition of publication of proceedings

 

10

Appeal and limitation for appeal

 

11

Power to make rules

 

12

Repeal

 

 

 

Preamble

LXIV OF 1976

30th November 1976

An Act to enact a law relating to contempt of Court the following Act of Parliament received the assent of the President on the 28th November, 1976, and is hereby published for general information :‑

 

Whereas, in view of the provisions of Article 204 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, it is necessary to enact a law relating to contempt of Court ;

 

COURT DECISIONS

Preamble-Act is not repugnant to the Injunctions of Islam- Shariat accords exalted position to a Court and Court has the power to punish a contemner for contempt of Court. P L D 1993 Lah. 658

 

It is hereby enacted as follows :‑

1. Short title, extent and commencement

(1)    This Act may be called the Contempt of Court Act, 1976.

          (2)    It extends to the whole of Pakistan.

          (3)    It shill come into force at once.

 2. Interpretation

In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,‑

(a)      "Judge" includes all officers acting in a judicial capacity in the administration of justice ; and

(b)      Judicial proceedings in relation to any matter shall be deemed to be pending from the time when a Court has come to be seized of the matter in a judicial capacity, till such time as the appellate, revisional or review proceedings in respect of the matter have come to an end or the period of limitation for filing such proceedings has expired without any such proceedings having been initiated.

Court Decisions

Contempt of Court:–  Plaintiff on continued highhandedness of police filing civil suits, injunction orders issued to Chief Officer of Municipal Corporation directing him, his employees, and police to refrain from removing plaintiff's cabins but police going to spot and removing two cabins‑Cabin holder serving notice of contempt along with true copy of injunction order on police Sub‑Inspector, Sub­-Inspector's action in thereafter proceeding to spot, asking for copy of injunction order or to accompany him to police station, held, exhibited intention to overawe or influence parties issuing notice of contempt-­Matter being already in Court, police officer's conduct, held, might by itself, amount to contempt of Court in certain respects. 1975 S C M R 80          

During pendency of appel­lant's complaint against a Presiding Officer of a Court and others, appellant in his newspaper publishing an article under caption: "Revision petition against misdeeds of Gul Muhammad Solangi allowed" and inter alia imputing to Presiding Officer as having com­pelled the police to adopt unlawful attitude with the result that the police in defiance of the order of the Court had refused to accept the surety and kept the accused in wrongful confinement by adopting illegal methods"‑‑Publication, held, tended to prejudice case of Presiding Officer in public eyes‑Subsequent publication of yet another article making imputation that "clerk of Court appears to have assumed a position as though he was the matter of the Court"‑Held likely to lower Court in public estimation, innuendo being that either Court connived at malpractices of clerk or was not in position to curb his misdeeds and maintain discipline and decorum of its own Court. 1975 S C M R 106

P L D 1964 S C 457 and P L D 1963 S C 170 ref.

Show-cause notice in writing is not necessary when the contempt is committed in view of the Court. P L D 1993 Lah. 658

Expression prima facie in contempt of Court but when read in context of matter printed and published found to refer to contentions of parties to litigation‑Held, not in contempt of Court.   1971 P Cr. L J 882

Apology‑Statement made by contemner, not in justifica­tion of contempt but explaining his conduct as being not deliberate or intentional‑Apology accepted as sufficient amends‑Contemner discharged.    1971 P Cr. L J 882

False allegations against Civil Judge:– False allegations against Civil Judge contained in application submitted to Governor imputing immorality to Civil Judge by indulging in illicit intimacy with his maid servant and on intimacy being discovered adopting coercive measures against relations of woman trying to prevent her from visiting Civil Judge's house and getting one of such persons prosecuted and by being personally present in Court of Magistrate getting him convicted on a false charge‑Held: Applicant assailed conduct of two officers engaged in administration of justice-Allegations of such kind lower dignity and prestige of judicial officers‑Nom‑ can be allowed to defame or ridicule an officer engaged in administration of justice‑‑Plea that allegations amounted to defamation and were made against Civil Judge in his private capacity, held, without any force‑Allegations, even otherwise, against Magistrate for entertaining proceedings and passing final orders at Civil Judges instance‑Clearly constitute an imputation in respect of discharge of judicial functions by Magistrate and therefore constitute contempt of Court.

The allegations of these kinds are of serious nature and in the eye of the public lower the dignity and the prestige of the judicial officers who are expected to administer justice, without fear, favour or frown. A judicial officer who is said to indulge in the institution of false cases in order to spite his opponents or eaters into alliance with another it, record conviction of innocent persons on false charges is unfit to hold any judicial' office. So the allegations are wilful and tenacious. No one can be allowed to defame or ridicule an officer engaged in the administra­tion of justice otherwise the officer will be thrown at the' mercy of the disgruntled litigants who will scandalize him with impunity and his position as a Judicial officer will be jeopardised. Cause of justice cannot be served by false and contemptuous imputa­tions: This, on the contrary, impairs that cause and under­mines the dignity and the authority of the Courts.

It was pleaded that the allegations which had been made in the application amounted to defamation and were made against the Judge in his private capacity and no criticism was levelled against him in respect of his judicial functions or anything done or attempted to have been done by him in the administration of justice and, therefore, the case should be tried by the ordinary Court. The plea was held to be without any force. Moreover, it was remarked, the allegations had also been trade against the other Magistrate that he had entertained the proceedings under section 107, Cr. P. C. and passed final order at the instance of Civil Judge Thus this allegation clearly con­stitutes an imputation in respect of the discharge of the judicial function by that Magistrate and, therefore, contempt of Court had been committed.  1971  P Cr. L J  1129

3. Contempt of Court

Whoever disobeys or disregards any order, direction or process of a Court, which he is legally bound to obey; or commits a wilful breach of a valid undertaking given to a Court ; or does anything which is intended to or tends to bring the authority of a Court or the administration of law into disrespect or disrepute, or to interfere with or obstruct or interrupt or prejudice the process of law or the due course of any judicial proceedings, or to lower the authority of a Court or scandalize a Judge in relation to his office, or to disturb the order or decorum of a Court, is said to commit "Contempt of Court".

            Provided that the following shall not amount to commission of contempt of Court‑—

 (i)        fair comments about the general working of Courts made in good faith in the public interest and in temperate language ;

 (ii)       fair comments on the merits of a decision of a Court made, after the pendency of the proceeding in a case, in good faith and ins temperate language without impugning the integrity or impartiality of the, Judge ;

 (iii)      subject to a prohibition of publication under section 9 or under any other law for the time being in force, the publication of a fair and substan­tially accurate report of any judicial proceedings ;

 (iv)      the publication of any matter, amounting to a contempt of Court by reason of its being published during the pendency of some judicial proceedings, by a person who had no reasonable ground for believing that such judicial proceedings were pending at the time of the publication of the matter ;

 (v)       the distribution of a publication, containing matter amounting to contempt of Court, by a person who had no reasonable ground for believing that the publication contained, or was likely to contain, any such matter ;

 (vi)      a true averment made in good faith and in temperate language for initiation of action or in the course of disciplinary proceedings against a Judge, before the Chief Justice of a High Court, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the Supreme Judicial Council, the Federal Government or a Provincial Government ;

 (vii)     a plea of truth taken up as a defence in terms of clause (vi) in proceedings for contempt of Court arising from an earlier averment unless it is mendaciously false ;

 (viii)     relevant observations made in a judicial capacity, such as, those by a higher Court on an appeal or revision or application for transfer of a case, or by a Court in judicial proceedings against a Judge ;

 (ix)      remarks made in an administrative capacity by any authority in the course of official business, including those in connection with a disciplinary inquiry or in an inspection note or a character roll or confidential report ; and

 (x)       a true statement made in good faith respecting the conduct of a Judge in a matter not connected with the performance of his judicial functions.

 

Court Decisions

 

Contempt of Court  –  Manners in which the offence of contempt of court may be committed specified and enumerated. PLD 1999 Pesh . 61

During pendency of appel­lant's complaint against a Presiding Officer of a Court and others, appellant in his newspaper publishing an article under caption: "Revision petition against misdeeds of Gul Muhammad Solangi allowed" and inter alia imputing to Presiding Officer as having com­pelled the police to adopt unlawful attitude with the result that the police in defiance of the order of the Court had refused to accept the surety and kept the accused in wrongful confinement by adopting illegal methods"‑‑Publication, held, tended to prejudice case of Presiding Officer in public eyes‑Subsequent publication of yet another article making imputation that "clerk of Court appears to have assumed a position as though he was the master of the Court"‑Held likely to lower Court in public estimation, innuendo being that either Court connived at malpractices of clerk or was not in position to curb his misdeeds and maintain discipline and decorum of its own Court. 1975 S C M R 106

 P L D 1964 S C 457 and P L D 1963 S C 170 ref.

            Contemner throwing himself at Court's mercy without demur or qualification and showing spirit of manful confession of conscious wrong doing‑Such apology, held, should normally be accepted‑Acceptance of apology, however, being a matter for Court concerned and not for appellate Court, S.C did not feel proper to accept apology but considering sentence harsh reduced it to a fine of one rupee in circumstances of case. 1975 S C M R 106

P L D 1959 Dacca 84 ; P L D 1971 S C 72 and P L D 1973 S C 59 ref.

            Expression prima facie in contempt of Court but when read in context of matter printed and published found to refer to contentions of parties to litigation‑Held, not in contempt of Court.   1971 P Cr. L J 882

               

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