The Attorney General (AG) of India KK Venugopal, on Thursday, gave consent for the initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against stand-up comic Kunal Kamra for a series of tweets he published criticising the Supreme Court and one of the judges in particular. The AG's consent comes at the request made by at least two parties who sought contempt against Kamra for his tweets.
The top law officer received at least 10 letters seeking permission to initiate contempt proceedings.
In the aftermath of the top court's decision granting interim bail to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, Kamra tweeted that the Supreme Court is the "most supreme joke" in the country. Three other tweets posted by Kamra were also offensive for those who sought contempt.
Tweets cross line between humour and contempt: AG
Giving his consent, the top law officer referred to two tweets (seen in the image below) posted by Kamra to suggest that the stand-up comic were "not only in bad taste but had crossed a line between humour and contempt."
"Apart from this is a picture of the Supreme Court building dressed in saffron colours with a flag of the ruling political party, namely the BJP having replaced the tricolour. This is a gross insinuation against the entirety of the Supreme Court of India that the Supreme of India is not an independent and impartial institution and so too its judges, but on the other hand is a court of the ruling party, the BJP, existing for the BJP's benefit," the top law officer's reply read.
"All this in my opinion constituted criminal contempt of court," Venugopal added.
The other tweets, Venugopal said, were also highly objectionable but it would perhaps be for the Court to decide the question as to whether these tweets also would constitute criminal contempt.
"I find that today people believe that they can boldly and brazenly condemn the Supreme Court of India and its judges by exercising what they believe is their freedom of speech. But under the Constitution, the freedom of speech is subject to the law of contempt and I believe that it is time that people understand that attacking the Supreme Court of India unjustifiedly and brazenly will attract punishment under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1972" Venugopal added.
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