IPC 228 Intentional insult or interruption to public servant sitting in judicial proceeding

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section 228 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 states

“Whoever intentionally offers any insult, or causes any interruption to any public servant, while such public servant is sitting in any stage of a judicial proceeding, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.”

Section 228 of the Penal Code details punishment for anyone intentionally interrupting the court while it is administering justice. The purpose of Section 228 is to preserve the prestige and dignity of the Court.

For contempt of court, Section 228 sets forth the highest sentence that can be inflicted. Contempt of court involves any act done or writing published that insults or interrupts a court or judge in contempt or lowers the authority of the court.

The essential ingredients of the section are:

(i) Intention to insult a public servant or;

(ii) Insult or interruption to a public servant; and

(iii) The public servant insulted or interrupted must be sitting in any stage of judicial proceeding.

These acts are rude or obstinate behavior, refusal to answer any legal questions, or any act that is intended to disturb the peace or result in a disturbance of any kind. Interestingly, every protest does not interrupt a court hearing, but it is the court's duty to listen to protests, no matter how long they may delay the proceedings. As long as they are bona fide, they do not constitute interruptions which the section punishes as contempt.

Prevarication by a witness and refusal to answer a question amount to intentional interruption within the meaning of Section 228.

A person persisting in putting irrelevant and vexatious questions to a witness after warning a person making an impertinent threat to a witness in the box; a person calling the trial Judge as ‘a prejudiced judge’; a person stating in an application for transfer of a case that the court had become hostile to him; were all considered guilty of contempt of court under Section 228. Hurling of shoes by an Advocate at the presiding officer of the court was contempt of the worse kind and needs to be punished severely.

A person leaving the court when ordered to remain; a person walking out of the court without answering the question whether he had any witness; a person listening to evidence after being told to leave the court; a person using vulgar language for the purpose of emphasis; a person writing a letter to a Judge imputing an unlawful act causing loss to him were considered to have committed an offence under Section 228.

Under Section 228, an offense is not cognizable, bailable, but not compoundable, and a summons should be issued in most cases. It is triable by the court where the offence is committed, subject to the provisions of Chapter XXVI.

Section 228A: Whoever prints or publishes the name or any matter which may make known the identity of any person against whom an offence under section 376, section 376A, section1 376AB, section 376B, section 376C, section 376D, section 376DA, section 376DB, section 376E is alleged or found to have been committed (hereafter in this the section referred to as the victim) shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine.

Classification:

This is a non-cognizable, bailable, triable offence under Ch.XXVI, or if it is not committed in court, any magistrate

Punishment: Simple Imprisonment for 6 Months or Fine or Both.

In Andhra Pradesh offence under section 228 is cognizable.

Case laws:

Lalit Yadav vs The State of Chhattisgarh:

The petitioner was convicted under Sections 376 and 342 of the Indian Penal Code and was sentenced to substantive sentences of seven years and one year, respectively. By dismissing the appeal, the High Court affirmed his conviction and sentence. The orders of conviction and sentence cannot be upset, and as such, this petition is dismissed. Notice from both the trial court and the High Court's judgments that the victim in the present case, who was examined as PW2, was consistently referred to throughout. Despite the fact that the course of action is not consistent with Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code, the explanation makes an exception in favor of the judgments of the superior court. The courts should not make every effort to conceal the identity of the victim in accordance with Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code. While dismissing the present matter, the High Court Registry placed the record of the appeal before the learned Judge for making appropriate changes to the record, including passing correct practice directions, so that the trial courts in the State would comply with Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code.

It was held by this Court in State of Madhya Pradesh v. Ravashankar AIR 1959 SC 102 that even where the facts of a case disclose an offence which may fall under Section 228 IPC, the case may be triable as a Contempt under Section 3 of the Act if the acts complained of could not be confined to what would be covered by Section 228 IPC only. The attorneys for the appellants were unable to point out any section of the penal code where a crime of such clear contempt as that committed by the appellants fell or could be prohibited. therefore, no force in this contention was found.

Citations

State of Madhya Pradesh v. Ravashankar AIR 1959 SC 102

Lalit Yadav vs The State of Chhattisgarh ICL 2018 SC 617