Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Supreme Court issues show-cause notice to Kunal Kamra for his tweets

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The Supreme Court on Friday issued show-cause notice to stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra over his derogatory tweets regarding the Supreme Court and its Judges, asking him to file a reply within six weeks. The Court has only directed Kamra to file a reply, and has not mandated his presence.

A three-judge bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah had heard the pleas filed seeking initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra over his derogatory tweets against the Supreme Court.

During the last hearing, Advocate Nishant Kameshwarkar, on behalf of one of the petitioners, submitted that the tweets of the contemnor  scandalizes the dignity and authority of the Supreme Court.

The petitions were filed after Attorney General KK Venugopal gave his nod to initiate criminal contempt of court proceedings against stand-up comedian for his tweets against the Supreme Court of India against, after multiple requests seeking his consent were made.

A resident of Aurangabad, Shrirang Katneshwarkar, had requested Venugopal’s permission under the Contempt of Court Act to initiate contempt proceedings against Kamra for his tweets. Two Pune-based advocates, Amey Abhay Sirsikar and Abhishek Sharad Raskar, in their letter had stated that certain unscrupulous elements have taken to themselves to belittle the authority of the judicial system and to invoke a sense of displeasure in the minds of the citizens against the apex court.

In all, a series of 10 letters were sent to the AG seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against Kunal Kamra. Thereafter, the Attorney General has granted consent to Katneshwarkar and Raskar.

Kamra’s tweets came after a divisional bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Indira Banerjee has allowed interim bail to Arnab Goswami in an abetment to suicide case. Kamra has allegedly called Justice DY Chandrachud a “flight attendant serving champagne to first-class passengers” and further scandalized the Supreme Court by calling it a “Supreme Joke”, the letter submitted.

A cyber crime complaint had also been filed against Kamra by advocate Chandani Shah alleging that he has blatantly insulted the apex court of this country by addressing the Supreme Court as ‘The Supreme Joke’ along with a grave insult of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Indira Banerjee, and addressing senior advocate Harish Salve by mocking him in the most unscrupulous manner. The complainant  sought action under Sections 228 (Intentional insult or interruption to public servant sitting in the judicial proceeding), 503 (Criminal intimidation), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 505 (creating or promoting enmity), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation of the Indian Penal Code, Section 12 (contempt of court) of the Contempt of Court Act and various sections of the IT Act. 

This was followed by another letter to AG Venugopal by Advocate Anuj Singh seeking consent to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against Kamra for his tweets regarding the Chief Justice of India. The AG granting consent had said that : 

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“The depiction of the two fingers, with the legend that he means the middle one, is to deliberately insult the Chief Justice of India which would equally be an insult to the Supreme Court of India itself, which the Chief Justice heads. The said tweet is grossly vulgar and obnoxious, and I have no doubt Justice heads. The said tweet is grossly vulgar and obnoxious, and I have no doubt that it would tend to lower the authority of the Supreme Court of India as well as undermine the confidence that the litigant public have in the institution of the Supreme Court of India itself. In view of the above, I accordingly grant consent under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1975.”

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