AG Gives Consent for Contempt of Court Plea Against Kunal Kamra

Kunal Kamra criticised the SC in a series of tweets after a two-judge bench granted bail to Arnab Goswami.

Updated
India
3 min read
Comedian Kunal Kamra has been banned from flying by four airlines.
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Attorney General KK Venugopal, on Thursday, 12 November, gave his consent to initiate criminal contempt of court proceedings against comedian Kunal Kamra for his tweets about the Supreme Court.

Replying to a request by Shrirang Katneshwarkar, a resident of Aurangabad, Venugopal, in his letter, referred to Kamra’s tweets as “highly objectionable” and “in bad taste”.

In his letter to Katneshwarkar, Venugopal states: “the tweets I am extracting below are not only in bad taste but clearly cross the line between honour and contempt of the Court.”

The two tweets he was referring to in this context included the following lines:

  1. "Honour has left the building (Supreme Court) long back”
  2. "The Supreme Court of this Country is the most Supreme joke of this country."

In addition to these, the Attorney General also opines that a third tweet by Kamra constituted criminal contempt: an image of the Supreme Court building dressed in saffron colours with the BJP flag on top instead of the national flag. According to him,

“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 for the BJP’s benefit.”  

The Attorney General's consent is needed for a contempt petition filed by a third party to proceed, under both the Supreme Court's Rules on contempt proceedings, as well as the Contempt of Courts Act 1971.

Sources have told The Quint that AG Venugopal has given his consent to all eight individuals who wrote to him for his consent to commence contempt proceedings against Kamra.

These individuals can now file criminal contempt petitions against Kamra in the Supreme Court.

In a rebuke of Kamra’s series of tweets on 11 November about the Supreme Court after a two-judge bench granted interim bail to Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami, Venugopal further stated that the other tweets are also “highly objectionable”. However, he left it to the apex court to decide whether they too amounted to criminal contempt.

The Venugopal concluded by pointing out that people today believe that they can condemn the Supreme Court and its judges by exercising 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.”  
Attorney General KK Venugopal

“Criticism Not Contempt”: Activists Show Solidarity with Kamra

Lawyer, activist Prashant Bhushan, who himself was recently mired in contempt of court cases, on Thursday, tweeted in support of Kunal Kamra and said that his acts do not amount to obstruction of justice. Bhushan further pointed out that such proceedings will invite greater contempt.

Activist Kavita Krishna too took to Twitter to express her solidarity with Kamra.

AG Gives Consent for Contempt of Court Plea Against Kunal Kamra
(Photo: Screenshot/Twitter)
AG Gives Consent for Contempt of Court Plea Against Kunal Kamra
(Photo: Screenshot/Twitter)
AG Gives Consent for Contempt of Court Plea Against Kunal Kamra
(Photo: Screenshot/Twitter)
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