SC issues show-cause notices to Kunal Kamra, Rachita Taneja
The Supreme Court on Friday issued show-cause notices to stand up comedian Kunal Kamra and cartoonist Rachita Taneja, on separate petitions seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against them for allegedly denigrating judiciary and judges.
The controversy erupted on November 11, when Kamra posted a series of tweets “mocking” the top court, Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde and justice DY Chandrachud, following which law student Skand Bajpai wrote to Attorney General KK Venugopal, seeking his consent that contempt proceedings be initiated against Kamra.
On November 12, Bajpai tweeted that the AG had given his consent for initiating contempt proceedings against the comedian and posted a letter from Venugopal which stated the same.
Kamra refused to apologise for his tweets and said they only stated his take on the Supreme Court of India making a “partial” decision. He was referring to the granting of bail to Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami in a 2018 case of abetment to suicide.
“The tweets I recently put out have been found in contempt of court. All that I tweeted was from my view of the Supreme Court of India giving a partial decision in favour of a Prime Time Loudspeaker.”
“My view hasn’t changed because the silence of the Supreme Court of India on matters of other’s personal liberty cannot go uncriticized. I don’t intend to retract my tweets or apologise for them. I believe they speak for themselves,” he added.
The AG also granted consent for initiating contempt against cartoonist Rachita Taneja for her tweets depicting the apex court as biased towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after Gowswami was granted bail.
The first tweet depicts Goswami asking the SC if it knows who his father is. “The clear implication (of the tweet) would be that SC is biased towards the ruling party BJP and would tailor its judgments for benefit of the ruling party,” Venugopal had said in his examination of the tweets.
The second tweet depicted the SC as “Sanghi Court of India”, an apparent reference to the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) with the flag of the BJP in place of the tricolour atop the court building. “The tweet is calculated to undermine public confidence in the independence and impartiality of the Supreme Court of India,” Venugopal said.
The cartoonist’s third tweet made a reference to the Ayodha title suit judgment delivered by the top court in November last year with the insinuation that this was delivered in favour of BJP in exchange for a favour.