Attorney General KK Venugopal on Thursday granted consent for initiation of contempt proceedings against stand-up comic artist Kunal Kamra for his tweets allegedly criticising the Supreme Court.
"The tweets which I am extracting below are not only in bad taste but clearly cross the line between humour and contempt of the court," said Venugopal in his letter to one of the applicants who had sought consent of the top law officer for initiation of contempt proceedings against Kamra. "I therefore grant consent to proceed by way of initiating contempt proceedings against Kunal Kamra, Venugopal said in his letter."
In one of the letters seeking Attorney General's consent for initiation of contempt proceedings against Kamra, three lawyers have claimed that he allegedly attempted to lower the authority of the Supreme Court of India through his tweets after the apex court had granted interim bail to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswam
Actor Kangana Ranaut’s lawyer Rizwan Siddiquee on Wednesday sought Attorney General KK Venugopal’s permission for initiating criminal contempt proceedings against comedian Kunal Kamra over defamatory tweets against the Supreme Court concerning high-profile TV journalist Arnab Goswami’s interim bail.
In his complaint, Siddiquee has stated that Kamra, through his words, had grossly undermined the authority of the Supreme Court through his Twitter account which has 1.7 million followers.
He further added that if action is not taken against Kamra, it might empower other influencers with millions of followers to pass “reckless allegations and diabolical statements against the judges and the court who do not decide cases in their favour or in accordance to their liking and this trend would soon spell the death knell of an independent judiciary.”
Kamra, in a series of tweets, had criticised the apex court’s order of granting Arnab interim bail in abetment to suicide case.
The four tweets that had resulted in Siddiquee’s actions are:
1. The Supreme Court of this country is the most Supreme joke of this country.
2 .The pace at which the Supreme Court operates in matters of “National Interests” it’s time we replace Mahatma Gandhi’s photo with Harish Salve’s photo.
3. DY Chandrachud is a flight attendant serving champagne to first class passengers after they’re fast tracked through, while commoners don’t know if they’ll ever be boarded or seated, let alone served.
4. All lawyers with a spine must stop the use of the prefix “Hon’ble” while referring to the Supreme Court or its judges. Honour has left the building long back.
“You cannot scandalize or lower the authority of any Court. It amounts to Criminal Contempt. Remove your post immediately or i shall be constrained to proceed further as an officer of the Court,” Siddiquee had tweeted earlier.
A week after he was sent to jail, Goswami, an accused in a 2018 abetment to suicide case, was released on Wednesday night, hours after the Supreme Court granted interim bail observing it will be a 'travesty of justice' if personal liberty is curtailed.
The court also said that if the Constitutional Courts do not interfere in this case today then 'we are travelling the path of destruction undeniably.” Goswami, the 47-year-old Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV who was lodged in Taloja jail in Alibaug in Raigad district adjoining Mumbai along with two others after they were sent to 14-day judicial custody on November 4 by a sessions court, got the relief from a vacation bench of the top court after a day-long hearing marked by some gripping exchanges.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee expressed concern over state governments targeting some individuals on the basis of ideology and difference of opinion, adding if they target individuals, people must realise there is the apex court to protect the liberty of citizens. It was also Justice Chandrachud’s 61st birthday today.
The apex court also ticked off the Bombay High Court, saying it “was in error” in rejecting the pleas filed by the three accused seeking interim bail in the case.
Goswami came out of the jail around 8.30 pm and waved to people assembled outside from the vehicle carrying him. He said he was thankful to the Supreme Court for granting him bail.
He flashed the victory sign and said, 'this is the victory of the people of India.' As Goswami walked out after completing some procedural formalities, a group of his supporters waiting outside with placards like 'Welcome Arnab' greeted him with cheers.
Words like 'Satyamev Jayate' and 'Happy Diwali' were also written on the road in front of the jail. People were also heard shouting slogans like 'Bharat Mata ki jai, Vande Mataram and Arnab Goswami zindabad'.
(With inputs from PTI and News18)