Attorney General KK Venugopal has given his nod to initiate contempt proceedings against comic illustrator Rachita Taneja for her tweets criticising the Supreme Court’s verdicts. Taneja is the founder of the webcomic Sanitary Panels.
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.
The first tweet, published on August 7, was in the context of the 2019 Ayodhya verdict given former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. In this comic, Gogoi is shown giving the Ayodhya verdict to Narendra Modi, while Modi is offering a Rajya Sabha seat.
The second tweet, published on November 11, showed the Supreme Court of India with an orange flag and a text that read, “Sanghi Court of India”. The caption on the tweet reads, “Arnab gets bail, real journalists get jail, independent judiciary is fail.”
The last tweet was published on November 12, after the SC granted bail to Arnab Goswami. In this tweet, a comic portraying Goswami, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Supreme Court of India with a text that read: “Tu Jaanta Nahi Mera Baap Kaun Hai” (Don’t you know who my father is).
In a response to Kashyap’s letter, the AG said, “I am satisfied that each tweet with the attached cartoon is in contempt of the Supreme Court of India, hence I grant my consent.” India’s top law officer added that Taneja’s tweet has implied that the apex court was biased to the ruling government.
After the news on the AG’s consent broke, there were mixed reactions on social media. While some users said that Taneja got what she deserved, others shared her tweets and came out in solidarity with her. They added that the authorities have other issues that need attention. However, one must remember that the AG has only given his consent and that it is the Supreme Court that needs to take it ahead. So far, no action has been taken. The same thing happened in the case of comedian Kunal Kamra when he criticised the SC for granting bail to Goswami.