Attorney General KK Venugopal has given his consent to initiate criminal contempt against comedian Kunal Kamra for his tweets targeting the Supreme Court of India in the wake of its controversial order on Arnab Goswami.
In a letter to law student Skand Bajpai, Venugopal wrote, “I believe it is time people understand that attacking the Supreme Court of India unjustifiedly and brazenly will attract punishment under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.”
Kamra had posted a series of tweets targeting the Supreme Court of India on Wednesday. One of his tweets had read, “The Supreme Court of this country is the most Supreme joke of this country.”
In another tweet, he had shared a morphed photo of the Supreme Court, which was painted in saffron and a BJP flag flying on top. Venugopal wrote in his consent letter, “This is a gross insinuation against the entirety of the Supreme Court that it is not an independent & impartial institution & so too its judges, but on the other hand is a court of the ruling party, the BJP, existing only for BJP’s benefit.”
Venugopal wrote that the ‘greatest strength of the judiciary is the faith of the people in it, a belief that should not allowed to erode because of a calculated and well-timed propaganda of a few.’
In another tweet, Kamra had written, “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.”
His tweet on Justice Chandrachud had read “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. *Justice*” He urged 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.’
Borrowing a line from Justice Chandrachud during Wednesday’s hearing, Kamra wrote, “If you don’t like my contempt of court don’t see it. Taking inspiration from the Supreme Court.” Justice Chandrachud had said that people didn’t like Goswami’s TV broadcast, they had the option of not watching his TV channel.
This was after the Supreme Court Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee ordered the release of Arnab Goswami even though the Bombay High Court had asked the Republic TV founder to approach the lower court for relief. The argument by the Maharashtra government’s lawyer, Kapil Sibal, reminding how the Supreme Court had asked him to go to the lower court in a case related to the arrest of a Kerala-based journalist by the UP Police while he was on his way to Jathras to cover the gang-rape story did not impress Justices Chandrachud and Banerjee.