Attorney General consented to multiple requests for criminal contempt action against him
Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra refused to apologise or retract his tweets on the Supreme Court a day after Attorney General K.K. Venugopal consented to multiple requests for criminal contempt action against him.
Mr. Kamra reacted in a tweet titled ‘no lawyers, no apology, no fine, no waste of space’.
In a note attached to the tweet and addressed to “Dear Judges, Mr. KK Venugopal”, Mr. Kamra said his tweets are his view. “I believe they speak for themselves,” he wrote.
Kamra’s tweets criticised bail for Arnab
Mr. Kamra’s tweets concerned the Supreme Court decision to grant interim bail to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on November 11.
“My view has not 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 apologise for them,” his note on Twitter read.
He said he wished to “volunteer” the time that may be allotted for hearing his contempt case to others “who have not been as lucky and privileged as I am to jump the queue”.
“May I suggest the demonetisation petition, the petition challenging the revocation of J&K’s special status, the mater of the legality of electoral bonds or countless other matters that are more deserving of time and attention,” Mr. Kamra wrote.
Mr. Venugopal, in his consent letter, had opined that certain tweets of Mr. Kamra’s “clearly cross the line between humour and contempt of court”.
Morphed photo of SC building
One of them, Mr. Venugopal had pointed out, was a picture of the Supreme Court building swathed in saffron colour with the ruling BJP flag flying atop it instead of the Tricolour. He had said that this tweet was a “gross insinuation against the entirety of the Supreme Court of India”.
The tweet insinuated that “the Supreme Court 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”, he had said.
Though he found some other tweets of the comedian also “highly objectionable”, he had left it to the court to decide whether they would constitute 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… I believe it is time people understand that attacking the Supreme Court unjustifiedly and brazenly will attract punishment under the Contempt of Court Act”, Mr. Venugopal observed in his letter on Thursday.