Attorney General clears contempt proceedings against Kunal Kamra

The AG pointed out that the comedian had also posted a picture of the SC in saffron colours with a BJP flag in place of the Tricolour.

Attorney General K K Venugopal on Thursday gave his consent for initiating criminal contempt of court proceedings against stand up comedy artist Kumal Kamra for tweets about the Supreme Court — made apparently in connection with its order granting interim bail to Republic TV Editor-In-Chief Arnab Goswami — saying the tweets “are not only in bad taste but clearly cross the line between humour and contempt of the court”.

“I have gone through each one of the tweets which you have annexed for consent to proceed by way of criminal contempt against Sh. Kumal Kamra. The tweets which I am extracting below are not only in bad taste but clearly cross the line between humour and contempt of the court”, the AG said in his reply to letters seeking his consent for the contempt proceedings.

Venugopal added that “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.”

His letter referred to two of Kamra’s tweets posted on Wednesday including one which said “Honour has left the building (Supreme Court) long back”.

The AG pointed out that the comedian had also posted a picture of the SC in saffron colours with a BJP flag in place of the Tricolour.

“This”, Venugopal said, “is a gross insinuation against the entirety of the Supreme Court of India that the Supreme Court 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 only for the BJP’s benefit”.

“All this in my opinion constitutes criminal contempt of court”, his letter stated.

The AG’s office is learnt to have received multiple requests seeking his nod for criminal contempt proceedings against Kamra over the tweets.

Those who had shot off letters to the AG include Shrirang Katneshwarjar, a law student from Aurangabad, Rizwan Siddiquee, an advocate and two Pune-based lawyers Amey Abhay Sirsikar and Abhishek Sharad Raskar.

They sought to draw the AG’a attention to four tweets by Kamra including one naming Justice D Y Chandrachud. A bench of Justices Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee had on Wednesday given interim bail to Goswami who was in judicial custody in connection with an abetment to suicide case.

Regarding his other two tweets, the AG said “they also are highly objectionable, and it would perhaps be for the Court to decide the question as to whether these tweets also would constitute criminal contempt of the Supreme Court of India”.

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