A parliamentary panel questioned microblogging platform Twitter on Thursday in connection with recent tweets by comedian Kunal Kamra against the Supreme Court and Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, reported PTI. The committee also asked the social media company to submit its reply within a week.
Twitter India officials deposed before the Joint Committee of Parliament on Data Protection Bill on Thursday.
“It is shameful that Twitter is allowing its platform for obscene remarks like the one by stand-up comedian Kunal Karma against the Supreme Court and the CJI,” said Bharatiya Janata Party MP Meenakshi Lekhi. “Twitter is allowing its platform to be misused for abusing top constitutional authorities, such as Supreme Court and CJI.”
The BJP leader said that the parliamentary committee’s members, including Congress’ Vivek Tankha, and Biju Janata Dal’s Bhartruhari Mahtab, questioned Twitter’s officials on the matter. She added that the social media platform’s representatives’ explanation was found to be inadequate on banning handles and tweets.
Meanwhile, Kamra commented on reports of this development with: “Personal liberty is like promotions in corporate India only those who don’t have jokes on the boss get it...”
On November 13, a group of lawyers and law students filed a contempt plea against the comedian. A day before that, Attorney General KK Venugopal gave his consent to sue Kamra for criminal contempt for his tweets on the Supreme Court order granting interim bail to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami.
Kamra has said he will 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 mocking the Supreme Court after Arnab 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 sought Venugopal’s consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Kamra. 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.
The social media platform has also recently apologised to the Joint Committee of Parliament on Data Protection Bill for in writing for wrongly showing Ladakh as part of China, Lekhi said on Wednesday. On November 12, the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology issued a notice to Twitter, asking for an explanation in five days. The notice, sent to Twitter’s global vice president, had asked why legal action should not be taken against the company and its representatives.