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    Contempt of court

    This is something I've wondered abt often but never actually got down to figuring out.

    Why is it that almost universally contempt of court is an accepted concept? Isnt the idea that any institution/person is above criticism a little stifling and contrary to the idea of accountability and everything?

    particularly in a country like pakistan where theres often suggestions of bikay huay judge hazraat..why does questioning the justice system/judge something that could land you in jail?

    am i even right about this? i have a very foggy idea abt the workings/applicability of contempt of court. obliged for more info..
    Din-e-Mullah fee sabeelillah fasad (Allama Iqbal)

    #2
    :-/ . losers.
    Din-e-Mullah fee sabeelillah fasad (Allama Iqbal)

    Comment


      #3
      A simple defintion of "contempt of court" is this:
      "Contempt of court is the failure of someone to obey a lawful order of a court, disrespect for the judge, or disruption of the proceedings through poor behavior."

      You can criticize the judge, or the court outside the court all you want as long as the judge didnt lawfully forbid you. Thats all I know.
      I am only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.

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        #4
        Re: Contempt of court

        Originally posted by ravage:
        This is something I've wondered abt often but never actually got down to figuring out. Why is it that almost universally contempt of court is an accepted concept? Isnt the idea that any institution/person is above criticism a little stifling and contrary to the idea of accountability and everything?

        [...] why does questioning the justice system/judge something that could land you in jail?
        Interesting question.

        There's different levels of contempt. What specifically do you mean by an act of "contempt" - what type of contempt is it? Is it someone shooting their mouth off inside a courtroom while there's a trial ongoing; is someone voicing his disagreement with the decision that was reached by the judge ?

        i think basically part of the answer has to do with wanting to protect the judicial system - it serves a symbolic role as well. You want to protect the 'integrity' of the entire judicial system - that's why no layperson can call a judge 'Mr' or 'Ms'. It's gotta be 'Your Honour' or 'M'lady' or whatever the official formal terms are...varies from country to country.

        If someone has a criticism about a judicial decision, then - um well, sometimes [albeit not always] there are judicial procedures in place to cope with those. Victims are allowed [in some jurisdictions] to give victim impact statements - they can read these out at the trial or have someone read them out if they don't want to read it out themselves. The accused is almost always (i think) asked by the Judge if s/he has anything to say in her/his defence. So that's when, if anyone does have a criticism, they should speak out. And they won't get penalized if they do. Of course there's always the appeals process....long and cumbersome but technically it exists and it is there.

        i dunno if that helps? Or i'm just rambling as usual?

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Contempt of court

          Originally posted by ravage:
          This is something I've wondered abt often but never actually got down to figuring out.

          Why is it that almost universally contempt of court is an accepted concept? Isnt the idea that any institution/person is above criticism a little stifling and contrary to the idea of accountability and everything?

          particularly in a country like pakistan where theres often suggestions of bikay huay judge hazraat..why does questioning the justice system/judge something that could land you in jail?

          am i even right about this? i have a very foggy idea abt the workings/applicability of contempt of court. obliged for more info..
          Wow. A good question. Definately worth pondering.

          I don't know all the rules of U.S. court much less Pakistan.

          What I think is contempt is failure to respect the Judge and failure to abide by the rules of process/court proceedings.

          In the U.S. failure to submit oneself/or evidence to a supeana from the court ...... can land one in jail I think.

          I don't think it's the questioning of the Judge/Judicial decision that lands one in jail..but the failure to respect the courts demands and decisions and not following guidelines of Law proceedings.......and I could be wrong here.

          In the U.S. its possible for questionable proceedings to land in the Supreme Court...which decisions sometimes clarify and occassionally overturn decisions.

          Also..in the U.S. one votes for Judges....Not Supreme Court Judges who are appointed....but smaller court Judges..and often the smaller Judges are not re-instated to office due to being voted out.

          Comment


            #6
            I completely forgot I had started this thread. Apologies for leaving your well posited replies in the air..

            If someone has a criticism about a judicial decision, then - um well, sometimes [albeit not always] there are judicial procedures in place to cope with those. Victims are allowed [in some jurisdictions] to give victim impact statements - they can read these out at the trial or have someone read them out if they don't want to read it out themselves. The accused is almost always (i think) asked by the Judge if s/he has anything to say in her/his defence. So that's when, if anyone does have a criticism, they should speak out. And they won't get penalized if they do. Of course there's always the appeals process....long and cumbersome but technically it exists and it is there.
            Thats sort of like saying you can have issues with the way democracy functions and you can have democratic ways of dealing with it. What if the average joe has issues against a particular judge who has been biased, unfair, etcetera.

            I think criticising a serving judge in public such as in newspapers can land you in jail. To my mind this is all the more unfair because a judge's actions impacts you on a personal basis, and a judge's judgement is (almost) completely on his discretion.

            Take Benazir Bhutto's case for instance. Supposing her concerns that she would not be given a fair trial because the judges were biased were genuine, how unfair would it be that not only can she get tried in absentia for her case, but also for contempt of court?

            Again, it would be helpful if anyone else knew anything more educated about the judicial system. .


            Also..in the U.S. one votes for Judges....Not Supreme Court Judges who are appointed....but smaller court Judges..and often the smaller Judges are not re-instated to office due to being voted out.
            Again, what if you dont like the people you've appointed. Can you tell those people you dont like them and they should step down..etc?

            As for decorum, why is anyone sanctioned by the state to be treated higher than others? Is it because he's meting out jail terms? "Say Sir or he'll give you another 10 years hard labour?"
            Din-e-Mullah fee sabeelillah fasad (Allama Iqbal)

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by ravage:

              Again, what if you dont like the people you've appointed. Can you tell those people you dont like them and they should step down..etc?

              Ravage,

              The way you let them know you don't like them is to vote for their opponent at the next election.

              Comment

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