Attorney General KK Venugopal on Tuesday granted sanction to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against YouTuber Ajeet Bharti for his alleged comments criticising the Supreme Court and its judges in one of his videos on the social media platform, reported Live Law.
The consent of the attorney general or the solicitor general is required before the Supreme Court can hear a criminal contempt petition filed by a private individual.
“I find that the contents of the video which has been watched by about 1.7 lakh viewers are vituperative, gross and highly derogatory to the Supreme Court of India and the judiciary as a whole being clearly intended to denigrate the courts,” Venugopal said.
He added: “The allegations made by Mr Ajeet Bharti against the Supreme Court are, among other things, of bribery, favouritism and abuse of power.”
A lawyer identified as Kritika Singh had sought to initiate contempt proceedings against Bharti, who runs the “DO Politics” YouTube channel, on July 1. She had cited some comments from the video in question, including Bharti’s use of derogatory words when saying that the courts harass those who criticise the collegium and contempt proceedings.
Bharti had also allegedly referred to the Supreme Court judges as “sinners”, saying that they get “blackmailed” by advocates, according to Singh’s complaint.
“The Supreme Court judges are ‘blackmailed’ to hear a terrorist’s plea of human rights at midnight while relevant issues don’t even get the importance due to them,” Singh said in her complaint, citing Bharti’s comments.
On Tuesday, the attorney general said that Bharti, who is an “educated youth”, should have known that his remarks would lead to contempt proceedings. “Particularly since he makes several references to the contempt power of the court, clearly inviting the contempt jurisdiction with all its attendant publicity being invoked against him,” Venugopal added.
The attorney general said the YouTuber’s comments “would lower the authority of the court in the eyes of the public and obstruct the administration of justice”.