Supreme Court To Consider Contempt Cases Against Comedian Kunal Kamra after 4 Weeks

Sushree Mohanty

The Supreme Court has dismissed three petitions looking for criminal contempt activity against comedian Kunal Kamra for his tweets about Supreme Court.  The Court has listed the matter for hearing after four weeks from February 22, 2021. 

The adjournment of the matter was based on a plea filed by one of the petitioners looking for time to record a response to the counter-affidavit presented by Kamra. The judges allowed a month time for the reply and the counter-affidavit put together by Kamra. 

The bench conceded a month time for the reply and adjourned the matter for further hearing following a month.

The Division Bench comprising Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy allowed the petitions of Abhyudaya Mishra, Skand Bajpai and Shrirang Kantneshwarkar, which were recorded by after the Attorney General for India conceded assent for starting contempt procedures against Kamra. 

Reacting to the contempt complaint filed against Kamra, he documented a testimony expressing that his tweets were not posted with the intention of offending the Court but was made with the intention to draw public attention towards the matter concerning democracy and initiate prompt actions for it. 

Kamra likewise said that public confidence in the Judiciary cannot be shaken by any criticism or comments from an individual but through the course of actions or conduct of the Court itself.

My tweets were not published with the intention of diminishing the faith of the people in the highest court of our democracy. It is funny though, how little faith the Petitioner appears to have in the people of this country. The suggestion that my tweets could shake the foundations of the most powerful court in the world is an over-estimation of my abilities. Just as the Supreme Court values the faith the public places (and seeks to protect it by the exercise of its criminal contempt jurisdiction in the judiciary is founded on the institution’s own actions, and not on any criticism or commentary about it”. the affidavit read.

Kamra expressed no establishment of power, including Courts that are above the analysis or criticism in a democratic rule government. 

“I believe that constitutional offices, including judicial offices — know no protection from jokes. I don’t accept that any high position, including judges, would get them unfit to release their obligations just by virtue of being the subject of parody or satire,” he added. 

The three-judge bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah had given notification to Kamra on December 18, 2021, on the petitions demanding for criminal contempt activity against him for his tweets against the Indian legal system and judiciary.

Kamra had posted several edited pictures of the Supreme Court wearing saffron colour clothes with the banner of the ruling government, the BJP. 

He likewise tweeted a few disputable comments against the Supreme Court, for example, ‘honour has left the structure (Supreme Court) long back’ and ‘Supreme Court of the nation is the most Supreme joke of the country’. 

The Attorney General for India had discovered these tweets to be ‘profoundly offensive’ and he expressed that it is time that individuals comprehend that assaulting the Supreme Court of India ridiculously and audaciously will attract punishment prescribed under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1972. 

Reacting to the procedures, Kamra presented that his tweets were implied as a joke for individuals who share a similar discernment as him. In any case, with the developing society of narrow mindedness in the nation, attack on right to speak freely and freedom of expression has become a typical case.

On November 12, 2020, discovering Kamra’s tweet to be exceptionally questionable, the AG conceded his assent under Section 15(1)(b) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 to start a criminal disdain case. 

“I find that today individuals accept that they can brazenly and boldly censure the Supreme Court of India and its appointed authorities by practising what they accept is their right to speak freely. In any case, under the Constitution, the ability to speak freely is dependent upon the law of contempt and I believe that it is time that individuals comprehend that assaulting the Supreme Court of India inappropriately and audaciously will attract in discipline under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1972.”, The Attorney General stated.

Taking solid exemption for this tweet, the Attorney General KK Venugopal remarked: “This is a gross hint against the totality of the Supreme Court of India as it is anything but an autonomous and fair establishment and therefore it is directed to its adjudicators as well,”.

Kamra responded to by stating that he has no expectation to ‘withdraw or apologize for his tweets. 

“My view hasn’t changed on the grounds that the silence of the Supreme Court of India on issue of other’s very own freedom can’t go uncriticised. I don’t plan to withdraw my tweets or apologize for them. I accept they represent themselves,” he said in an explanation posted on Twitter, which was indicated to the appointed judges and the Attorney General.

In the assertion posted on Twitter, Kamra proposed that the time the Court spent on his contempt hearing case might well be spent on another significant issue, such as, “demonetization appeal, a request challenging the evocation of J&K’s unique status, or endless different issue that are deserving of additional time and consideration” 

Kamra had made several tweets with regards to Supreme Court allowing interim bail to Arnab Goswami. The court has sought a month time for initiating a contempt case against the comedian for his four different tweets regarding the matter.

Read also: Criminal contempt case: Supreme Court adjourns hearing against Comedian Kunal Kamra