Section 345 CrPC: Procedure for Contempt Cases – Code of Criminal Procedure

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Section 345 CrPC: Procedure for Contempt Cases – Code of Criminal Procedure

1. Code: Section 345 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) deals with the procedure for handling contempt cases.

2. Explanation: This section outlines the specific procedure that needs to be followed by courts when dealing with instances of contempt of court. It primarily focuses on the following aspects:

  • Initiation of Proceedings: The section clarifies that contempt proceedings can be initiated either by the court itself or on the application of any person. This means that the court has the inherent power to initiate contempt proceedings if it believes that someone has acted in a way that disrespects or undermines its authority. Alternatively, individuals can approach the court and file an application seeking action against someone for contempt.
  • Show Cause Notice: Before any action is taken against the alleged contemnor, the court is required to issue a show cause notice. This notice informs the person accused of contempt of the specific allegations against them and provides them with an opportunity to respond. The notice specifies the time and place for the accused to appear before the court and present their defense.
  • Hearing and Evidence: The accused has the right to be heard and to present their defense. The court will hear arguments from both sides and may allow the presentation of evidence relevant to the case. The court must consider all evidence and arguments before making a decision.
  • Punishment: If the court finds the accused guilty of contempt, it can impose appropriate punishment. This punishment could include a fine, imprisonment, or both. However, the court has to consider the gravity of the contempt and the circumstances of the case while deciding on the punishment.
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3. Illustration: Consider a situation where a lawyer deliberately insults a judge during a court hearing. This act would constitute contempt of court. The judge, in this case, could initiate contempt proceedings against the lawyer by issuing a show cause notice. The lawyer would then have the opportunity to defend themselves against the allegations. If the court found the lawyer guilty of contempt, it could impose a fine or even imprisonment.

4. Common Questions and Answers:

Q: What are the different types of contempt of court?

A: Contempt of court can be classified into two main categories:

    • Civil Contempt: This arises when someone disobeys a court order or judgment. For example, refusing to pay alimony as ordered by the court.
    • Criminal Contempt: This occurs when someone acts in a way that undermines the dignity or authority of the court. Examples include using abusive language towards a judge or threatening a witness.

Q: Can a person be punished for contempt without a trial?

A: No, Section 345 CrPC clearly states that the accused must be given an opportunity to be heard and present their defense. The court cannot summarily punish someone without following due process.

Q: What are the defenses available to someone accused of contempt?

A: Defenses may include arguing that the act was not intended to be disrespectful, that the alleged act was not actually contempt, or that the court lacked jurisdiction to initiate proceedings.

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