18 Dec 2020 5:23 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to comedian Kunal Kamra on the petitions seeking criminal contempt action against him for his tweets made about the top court and judges.The notice is returnable within 6 weeks. The bench has dispensed with the personal presence of Kamra. The bench noted that the Attorney General for India has granted consent for initiating contempt action...
The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to comedian Kunal Kamra on the petitions seeking criminal contempt action against him for his tweets made about the top court and judges.
The notice is returnable within 6 weeks. The bench has dispensed with the personal presence of Kamra.
The bench noted that the Attorney General for India has granted consent for initiating contempt action against the comedian.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah considered the petitions filed by Abhyuday Misrha, Skand Bajpai and Srirang Katneshwar.
On Thursday, Advocate Nishant Katneshwarkar, appearing in one of the petitions, referred to Kamra's tweets before the bench. He referred to the Kamra's tweet 'who am I to scandalize the already scandalized', 'this is a contempt of joke' with reference to Supreme Court. One tweet, the counsel said, he cannot read out in the open court.
In another tweet, Kamra published an image replacing the flag of tricolor hoisted above Supreme Court with the flag of the ruling party and made the colour of the building saffron, the counsel said. Kamra also commented that the 'Supreme Court of the country is the Supreme Joke of the country', Katneshwarkar submitted.
During the hearing, Justice Shah remarked that there is no need to read out everything in the open court and that the bench has read the papers.
Law student Skand Bajpai, another petitioner, also sought to make submissions as party in persons. But the bench told him that it has already hear one petitioner and commented that there was no point in multiplying the submissions.
On November 12, finding Kamra's tweet to be highly objectionable, the AG granted his consent under Section 15(1)(b) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 to initiate criminal contempt. He said,
The AG's letter referred to Kamra's comments such as 'honour has left the building(Supreme Court) long back' and 'Supreme Court of the country is the most Supreme joke of the country'.
The AG also noted that apart from these comments, Kamra posted a picture of the Supreme Court dressed in saffron colour with the flag of the ruling party, the BJP.
Taking strong exception to this tweet, the AG commented:
"This 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".
Kamra reacted to AG's consent by saying that he has no intention to 'retract or apologize for his tweets'.
"My view hasn't changed because the silence of the Supreme Court of India on matters of other's personal liberty cannot go uncriticised. I don't intend to retract my tweets or apologize for them. I believe they speak for themselves," he said in a statement posted on Twitter, addressed to the judges and the attorney general.
He added that the "silence of the SupremeCourt on matters of other's personal liberty cannot go uncriticized".
In the statement published through Twitter, Kamra suggested that the time required for the contempt hearing against him may be spent on other important pending matters such as "demonetization petition, a petition challenging the revocation of J&K's special status, the matter of the legality of electoral bonds or countless other matters that are deserving of more time and attention"
'Will not retract my tweets or apologize', says comedian Kunal Kamra, after the Attorney General granted nod to initiate criminal contempt of court proceedings against him for his tweets about the Supreme Court in the wake of interim bail granted to #ArnabGowswami pic.twitter.com/O7PnU1v1AP— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) November 13, 2020
'Will not retract my tweets or apologize', says comedian Kunal Kamra, after the Attorney General granted nod to initiate criminal contempt of court proceedings against him for his tweets about the Supreme Court in the wake of interim bail granted to #ArnabGowswami pic.twitter.com/O7PnU1v1AP
Kamra had made a series of tweets regarding the Supreme Court and initiation of contempt against him has been sought for 4 of his tweets posted in the wake of the Supreme Court granting interim bail to Arnab Goswami.
Complaining against the same, few law students Skand Bajpai had sent a letter to the AG stating that the tweets and publications scandalize the Supreme Court and prejudices the minds of millions of people.
"During the course of the proceedings and also subsequent to the verdict, Mr. Kunal Kamra a stand-up comedian by profession through his Twitter handle having 1.7 million followers @kunalkamra88 published a series of tweets to scandalizes SC", the letter reads.
"If this kind of unruly and salacious statements are allowed to go unchecked, influencers having millions of social media followers would start making reckless allegations and diabolical statements against the judges," the letter said.
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