A sessions court in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, has admitted a revision petition filed against a magistrate order that dismissed a criminal complaint seeking registration of a first information report against comedian Kunal Kamra, reported Live Law. The comedian was accused of insulting the Indian flag by tweeting a morphed picture of the Supreme Court building with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party flag flying atop it.
The court of Additional Sessions Judge Anuradha Kushwaha issued a notice on the review plea on February 11. The case will be heard on March 2.
The magistrate court had in December dismissed the criminal complaint filed by advocate Saurabh Tiwari. He had contended that Kamra’s post had hurt the sentiments of citizens, and caused contempt and disrepute to the tricolour. The lawyer sought FIR registration and had then asked the court for such a direction in the matter, reported Live Law.
After the court dismissed the complaint, Tiwari moved the sessions court saying that a FIR may be registered in Varanasi as the action, committed through a post on Twitter, is an offence at all places “where such publication is seen”.
“It is clear that offence committed on social media platform (public platform) and against Indian National Flag then question of jurisdiction cannot be raised because offence presumed to be committed (In Varanasi also),” the plea said, according to Live Law.
Tiwari’s revision plea has sought charges under Indian Penal Code Section 2 of the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act, 1971, and under Sections 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), and 505 (public mischief).
Contempt proceedings in SC
In November, Attorney General KK Venugopal had given his consent to begin contempt proceedings against Kamra for his tweets criticising the Supreme Court. One of these tweets was the picture of the Supreme Court building swathed in saffron colour. He was criticising the Supreme Court for the manner in which it had fast-tracked Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami’s bail plea in an abetment to suicide case, even as thousands of undertrials languishing in jails across the country find it difficult to get a hearing.
Last month, Kamra refused to apologise for his tweets and added that “jokes are not reality and do not claim to be so”. The comedian had said that public faith in the judiciary was founded on the institution’s own actions and not criticism of it.