Jokes Need No Defence: Kunal Kamra's Reply To SC's Contempt Notice

Kunal Kamra faces contempt cases over tweets criticising the Supreme Court.

2 min read
Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra.

Comedian Kunal Kamra has responded to the contempt notice issued to him by the Supreme Court saying in an affidavit,

"I believe there need be no defence for jokes. Jokes are based on a comedian's perception, which they use to make the audience laugh. These jokes are not reality and don't claim to be so."

Growing Culture of Intolerance in India, Says Kamra

According to Live Law, Kamra went on to say that the tweets, over which proceedings were initiated against him in December last year, "were not published with the intention of diminishing the faith of the people in the highest court of our democracy." He dismissed the notion that his tweets could have swayed the public's opinion of the Supreme Court saying,

"The public's faith in the judiciary is founded on the institution's own actions, and not on any criticism or commentary about it."
The comedian stated that the idea that "any institution of power in a democracy is beyond criticism" is "irrational and undemocratic".

He argued that his satirical style was intended not to insult but to "draw attention to and prompt and engagement with issues that I believe are relevant to our democracy and which have also been raised in the public domain by more serious and learned commentators."

Mentioning the recent arrest of comedian Munawar Faruqui, who has been jailed for hurting religious sentiments for a joke he did not make, Kamra said there was a "growing culture of intolerance" in India, which is "witnessing an assault on the freedom of speech and expression."

"At such a time, I hope that this court will demonstrate that the freedom of speech and expression is a cardinal constitutional value, and recognise that the possibility of being offended is a necessary incident to the excercise of this right," he concluded.

Contempt Case Adjourned for Two Weeks

Kunal Kamra faces contempt cases over tweets criticising the Supreme Court for granting Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami bail in a case of abetment to suicide.

The case, which was heard by a Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan on 29 January, has been adjourned for two weeks so that the petitioner who had requested contempt action can respond.

The case of illustrator Rachita Taneja, who has also been issued notice of contempt, has been adjourned for three weeks after her lawyers asked for her case to be treated separately. She has been accused of publishing allegedly objectionable caricatures on her webcomic Sanitary Panels’ social media handles about the judiciary.

(With inputs from Live Law)

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