Attorney General KK Venugopal on Friday gave his consent to start contempt proceedings against comedian Kunal Kamra for a new tweet directed at Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Live Law reported.
In response to the request made by Advocate Anuj Singh, the attorney general said that Kamra’s November 18 tweet, which showed two fingers, deliberately insulted the chief justice and would be an equal insult to the Supreme Court.
“The said tweet is grossly vulgar and obnoxious, and I have no doubt that it would tend to lower the authority of the Supreme Court of India as well as undermine the confidence that the litigant public have in the institution of the Supreme Court of India itself,” Venugopal said in his order.
The consent of either the attorney general or the solicitor general is necessary, under section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, for initiating contempt proceedings against a person.
On November 12, Venugopal had given his consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Kamra for his earlier tweets, which were also seen as a criticism of the judiciary.
A Mumbai advocate had on November 11 sought Venugopal’s permission to initiate contempt proceedings against the comedian for his tweets criticising the Supreme Court for ordering the release of Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami on interim bail. Rizwan Siddiquee claimed that Kamra’s comments were contemptuous for their allegedly “salacious and unruly” nature.
Kamra, however, said that he would not retract his tweets or apologise. “No lawyers, no apology, no fine, no waste of space,” Kamra said on Twitter.
Kamra had 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. Venugopal said that the tweet insinuated that the “Supreme Court is not an independent and impartial institution and so too its judges, but on the other hand is a court of the ruling party, the BJP, existing for the BJP’s benefit”.
While granting bail to Goswami, Supreme Court judge Justice DY Chandrachud had asked High Courts to exercise their jurisdiction to uphold personal liberty. Chandrachud also said that personal liberty is increasingly becoming a casualty in India and said “we will walk on path of destruction” if the court does not intervene in the matter.