A group of lawyers and law students on Friday filed a contempt plea against comedian Kunal Kamra, a day after Attorney General KK Venugopal gave his consent for the charges, reported Bar and Bench.
On Thursday, Venugopal gave his consent to sue Kamra for criminal contempt for his tweets based on the Supreme Court order granting interim bail to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami. In his consent letter, the attorney general said that Kamra’s tweets were “highly objectionable” and it “constitutes criminal contempt of court”.
The petition filed by Advocate Nishant Katneshwarka pointed out Kamra’s 1.7 million following on Twitter and that many of them retweeted him.
“The citizens of India have highest regard to the courts of law,” the petition stated. “No law abiding citizen of this country would tolerate such act of publication of tweets by the alleged contemnor.”
It further contends that Kamra should not be let off by the top court, in case he apologises for his tweet.
“SC by showing magnanimity and grace had let off the contemnors in the past upon tendering apology,” the plea noted. “But the conduct of the alleged contemnor is so harsh that the alleged contemnor does not deserve any sympathy at the hands of this Hon’ble Court even in case of tendering apology.”
Law students Shrirang Katneshwarkar and Nitika Duhan, and advocates Amey Abhay Sirsikar, Abhishek Sharan Raskar and Sattyendra Vinayak Muley are party to the plea, according to Bar & Bench
“All the petitioners viewed the scandalous tweets published by the alleged contemnor and [the] first thought that came in their mind is to file a criminal contempt against the alleged contemnor,” the plea said.
‘No lawyers, no apology, no fine,’ says Kamra
Meanwhile Kamra on Friday said that he would not retract his tweets or apologise for them.
“My view hasn’t changed because the silence of the Supreme Court of India on matters of other’s personal liberty cannot go uncriticised,” read a part of his statement posted on Twitter. “I don’t intend to retract my tweets or apologise for them.”
Kamra posted four tweets after Goswami was granted interim bail in a 2018 abetment to suicide case on Wednesday, with one of them showing a picture of the Supreme Court building swathed in saffron colour with the BJP flag flying atop it.
Following this, a Mumbai-based advocate, two other lawyers based in Pune, and a law student are among those who sought Venugopal’s consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Kamra. According to Bar and Bench, the attorney general received a total of 10 letters seeking permission to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Kamra, of which he granted consent to eight.