On Friday, the Supreme Court has sent show-cause notices to comedian Kunal Kamra and artist Rachita Taneja for their allegedly contemptuous tweets against the apex court. A bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, RS Reddy, and MR Shah issued the notices, seeking a response from Kamra and Taneja. However, the court did exempt them from personal appearances.
The apex court had been reserving its order on the matter after receiving multiple pleas seeking a contempt of court action against the two. KK Venugopal, the Attorney General for India, had granted his consent for initiation of contempt proceedings against comedian Kunal Kamra over his tweet on November 18, passing comments on the Chief Justice of India. In the tweet, Kamra has shared a photo of two fingers on Twitter with a caption, “One of these two fingers for CJI Aravind Bobde…ok let me not confuse you it’s the middle one.”
The AG had said, “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 do not 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 has in the institution of the Supreme Court of India itself.”
The AG had earlier granted consent on November 12 to initiate contempt proceedings against Kamra over his tweets against the Supreme Court after the Apex Court granted interim bail to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in the 2018 abetment to suicide case.
KK Venugopal had given his nod to initiate contempt proceedings against comic illustrator Rachita Taneja for her tweets criticising the Supreme Court’s various verdicts. Taneja is the founder of the webcomic Sanitary Panels, which had dealt with the Ayodhya verdict as well as Arnab’s bail.
According to reports, law student Aditya Kashyap attached Taneja’s tweets in a letter written to the AG, seeking consent for contempt of court proceedings against the artist. Kashyap said that the tweets scandalises the Supreme Court and implies that there was a motive behind SC’s judgements. He added that there was a fine line between humour and contempt and that it had been violated. Kashyap concluded that the tweets and posts are based on twisted facts, inspired by hate and amount to criminal contempt.
Criminal contempt of the Supreme Court is punishable with fine Rs 2,000 and imprisonment up to six months.