The Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the Ludhiana Police to arrest the former Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and an alleged legal expert for contempt of court over disparaging remarks made by them against the sitting judges of the High Court as well as the Supreme Court and further ordered the blocking of videos uploaded on social media which contained the scandalous remarks by the respondents.

The Bench of Justice G.S. Sandhawalia and Justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan observed that “The loading of such videos on social platform at international level brings disrepute to the Constitutional Institution and it amounts to virtually inciting the public against the rule of law. Thus, a gauntlet is being thrown by the said respondents and we do not shrug off our constitutional duties to take it head on.”

“Freedom of speech and expression is protected under the Constitution of India but it is not an unfettered right and as much there are constitutional rights, there are duties also enshrined upon the citizens of the country.” expressed the Court.

In this case, the respondents had posted videos on social media which contained scandalous allegations against the Court and press conferences were even conducted on such issues. Due to the continued misconduct by the respondents contempt proceeding under Section 14 of the Contempt Act, 1971 was initiated against them.

The Court noted that by uploading the material on the social sites, they had not only by visible representation scandalized and lowered the authority of this Court and but have also interfered with the course of judicial proceedings and had gone on to obstruct the administration of justice.

Further it was noted that various litigation proceedings were pending before the High Court and that he was dismissed from police service on the ground that he had made unpleasant remarks against the Government while being a member of the disciplined force.

He had been circulating malicious, libelious and derogatory videos pertaining to judicial proceedings and had further alleged that the judges worked under political pressure and that the reports received in the sealed covers were not purposely opened as the same would wet their pants.

The Court also noted that even prior to court hearings, the respondent would hold a press conference or would upload videos wherein it was explained that how the proceedings would go against him.

Consequently, the Court issued notice to the respondents and observed that the respondents had committed criminal contempt in the presence of Court and they needed to be detained in custody before pending determination of the charge.

Accordingly, the matter was listed for further hearing on February 24 and a compliance report concerning the directive to take down the offending videos to be filed by February 22.

Cause Title- Court on its Own Motion vs. Union of India

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