If a high court has passed an interim order and a party to the case does not comply with that, then can it amount to contempt of court?
In Section 2(a) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, “contempt of court” is defined to mean civil contempt or criminal contempt.
And, in Section 2(b), “civil contempt” is defined to mean wilful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or wilful breach of an undertaking given to a court.
Therefore, it should be clear that, firstly, contempt can be committed in respect of any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or even wilful breach of an undertaking given to a court. This shows that contempt can be made out even in respect of an interim order of a court.
Secondly, however, it should be noted that mere violation of an order may not amount to contempt of court. It should be wilful disobedience or wilful breach. Thus, the violation of the order (including an interim order) must be wilful or intentional or deliberate.
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