A term usually applied to denote an order from the court commanding a person to present a reason for some action, as why he should not be punished for contempt of court, etc.
A Court or tribunal generally issues an Order to Show Cause to a party and command him/her to file a reasoned pleading to show and produce verifiable ground/s supported by solemn affirmation (affidavit) for judicial mercy, on failure a decisive step/course would be taken. If reply to show cause notice has been found to be satisfactory then no further action would be taken on the same. Show cause proceeding is a separate proceeding withing a proceeding or suit for which cost can be imposed. [CPC]
Section 446 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 – Where a bond under this Code is for appearance, or for production of property, before a Court and it is proved to the satisfaction of that Court, or of any Court to which the case has subsequently been transferred, that the bond has been forfeited, or where, in respect of any other bond under this Code, it is proved to the satisfaction of the Court by which the bond was taken, or of any Court to which the case has subsequently been transferred, or of the Court of any Magistrate of the first class, that the bond has been forfeited, the Court shall record the grounds of such proof, and may call upon any person bound by such bond to pay the penalty thereof or to show cause why it should not be paid. If sufficient cause is not shown and the penalty is not paid, the Court may proceed to recover the same as if such penalty were a fine imposed by it under this Code.