New Delhi, November 12
Attorney General KK Venugopal on Thursday gave his consent to initiate criminal contempt of court proceedings against standup comedian Kunal Kamra for his tweets insinuating the Supreme Court after it gave bail to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in an abetment to suicide case.
Terming Kamra’s tweets “highly objectionable”, Venugopal said in his opinion it “constitutes criminal contempt of court.”
The tweets are not only in bad taste but clearly cross the line between humour and contempt of court, said the Attorney General who recently refused to give consent for initiating contempt of court proceedings against several persons.
In one of his tweets, Kamra showed the Supreme Court in safron colour with a BJP flag in place of the Tricolour. He tweeted that honour had left the building (Supreme Court) long back and it was “the most supreme joke of the country”. He also made nasty comments about a sitting Supreme Court judge.
“All this in my opinion constitutes contempt of court,” the Attorney General said.
“This is a gross insinuation against the entirety of the Supreme Court that it 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 BJP’s benefit”, Venugopal noted.
“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, 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 Contempt of Courts Act,” the Attorney General said.
Several persons, including lawyers and law students, had written letters to Venugopal seeking his consent for initiating contempt of court proceedings against Kamra.
One of them—Shrirang Katneshwarkar of Aurangabad—had written to Venugopal seeking his consent under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, to initiate contempt proceedings against Kamra for his tweets allegedly scandalising the Supreme Court.