Contempt Of Court Against A Sitting Judge / The Marriage Bill

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Contempt Of Court Against A Sitting Judge / The Marriage Bill

Contempt Of Court Against A Sitting Judge:

Actual Issue

  • Judge CS Karnan has on multiple occasions stated that he was a victim of caste bias as he was a Dalit and had accused the Madras HC chief justice of harassing him.

  • Subsequently when he was transferred, Karnan himself “stayed” the order of the SC, advising the CJI not to interfere in his “jurisdiction”

  • He later accepted his transfer.

  • He also wrote to the PM, the law minister and the CJI, accusing several sitting and retired judges of corruption.

  • This action had prompted the court to issue a contempt notice for alleged judicial indiscipline.

  • This is the first time that a constitutional court has initiated contempt of court proceedings against a judge of the SC or HC.

  • The SC asked Karnan to appear before it in person for explanation. But the Judge chose not to appear before the SC.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Contempt of court – Article 129 and Article 215 empowers the Supreme Court and the High Courts respectively, to punish people for their contempt.

  • Article 129, states that “the Supreme Court shall be a court or record and shall have all the powers of such a court including the power to punish for contempt of itself”.

  • The power of contempt is often invoked to ensure compliance with the orders given by the courts in their execution, and for punishing those who are responsible for the lapses in the manner of compliance.

  • Contempt jurisdiction is exercised to uphold the dignity of the judicial system which includes within itself the dignity of courts and tribunals as well and to ensure the majesty of judicial institutions so that it may not be lowered.

  • Removal of Judge- A judge of a high court can be removed in the same manner and on the same grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court as mentioned in Article 124 i.e by an order of the President.

  • The President can issue the removal order only after an address by the Parliament has been presented to him in the same session for such removal.

  • The address must be supported by a special majority of each House of Parliament i.e., a majority of the total membership of that House and majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting.

  • The grounds of removal are proved misbehavior or incapacity.

  • Transfer of Judges – According to Article 222, The President can transfer a judge from one high court to another after consulting the CJI.

  • The CJI should consult, in addition to the Collegium of four senior most judges of the Supreme Court, the chief justice of the two high courts (one from which the judge is being transferred and the other receiving him).

  • The Supreme Court also ruled that the transfer of high court judges could be resorted to only as an exceptional measure and only in public interest and not by way of punishment.

  • The transfer of judges is subjected to judicial review but only the judge who is transferred can challenge it.

The Marriage Bill:

In News: The Marriages (Compulsory Registration and Prevention of Wasteful Expenditure) Bill was introduced by private members in the Lok Sabha.

Private Member’s Bill

  • Members of parliament other than ministers are called private members and bills presented by them are known as private member’s bills.

  • It can be introduced only with one month’s prior notice.

  • Money bill cannot be introduced by a private member, but a constitutional amendment bill can be introduced by a private member.

  • Till date, only 15 private members’ bills have ever been passed by the Indian Parliament. Six of these were in 1956 alone.

  • The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill passed in 2015 was the first private member’s bill to get the upper house’s approval in the past 45 years.

  • In the current Lok Sabha, 588 private bills have already been introduced.

  • Only 11 of them have actually come up for discussion.

The Bill say

  • The aim of the bill is to “prevent extravagant and wasteful expenditure” in weddings.

  • The bill states that, if a family spends above Rs 5 lakh on a wedding, it should contribute 10% of that amount to a welfare fund that is to be used to facilitate marriages of girls from poor families.

  • It seeks to limit the number of guests one can invite and dishes that can be served in weddings.

    Advantages

  • The intention behind is undoubtedly a noble one if the govt welfare fund stays free of corruption and mishandling.

  • It could provide the much needed relief to low income families in doing social justice to their key life events.

  • It will encourage simplicity because weddings in India perpetuate a negative social pressure of spending more to show value.

  • It would ease some pressure of the paying parties’ i.e usually the bride’s family, who could possibly be under pressure to spend beyond their comfort levels.

  • Much of the food and other perishables used in weddings so waste.

  • This undermines the food security of the country.

Disadvantages

  • Enforcement on how to celebrate a wedding is not democratic in nature.

  • A legal solution for a social issue is often seen as an aggressive policy.

  • It will be seen as unnecessary and unwarranted government interference in private affairs.

  • The mandatory 10% contribution would be perceived as yet another tax levied on the citizens.

  • The cap of 5 lakhs is a very low amount even to an average urban middle class standard.

  • The enforcement of the law would also be extremely difficult as it is likely to result in complications of tracking expenses and thus evading the 10% payment.

  • Regulations will be hard to manage and it will call for a significant state apparatus.

  • The scope for loopholes is huge. e.g It would be difficult to distinguish weddings from engagements and receptions which are held at an earlier or later date.

  • Some families see weddings as perfect occasions for reunions and don’t mind investing heavily for once in providing for their guests.

  • The bill does not account for the fact that weddings are an economic activity for many who work in the supply chain towards organizing them.

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