The press and contempt

Karnan vs Karnan

Print edition : June 09, 2017

Justice A.P. Shah: “Courts... must be more restrained in their use of contempt proceedings as a tool.” Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Justice Robert Bork: “Who is to protect us from the power of judges?....The answer can only be that judges must consider themselves bound by law that is independent of their own views of the desirable....” Photo: The Hindu Archives

Even where it is not a specific gag order as in the Supreme Court order against Justice Karnan, it exerts a nagging virtual pressure of pre-censorship, or pre-emptive censorship, on the journalist. The sword of criminal contempt hangs over the press even as it goes about discharging its legitimate function of informing the people about the process of justicing in our democracy.

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