The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned for four weeks the hearing on the three criminal contempt petitions against comedian Kunal Kamra for his tweets about the judiciary, reported Live Law. The adjournment was based on the request of one of the petitioners seeking time to file a rejoinder to the counter-affidavit that Kamra’s counsel had submitted.
A Supreme Court bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy took up the pleas of Abhyudaya Mishra, Shrirang Kantneshwarkar and Skand Bajpai that were filed after getting Attorney General KK Venugopal’s consent, according to PTI. The court also tagged another plea, filed by a person identified as Anuj Singh, for a tweet about Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.
On January 29, the Supreme Court had adjourned the proceedings in Mishra’s plea for two weeks after the comedian filed the affidavit. The comedian, in his affidavit, had said that his tweets were not posted with the intent of insulting the court, but to highlight matters that he believed were relevant to the Indian democracy. He also said that faith in the judiciary cannot be shaken by any criticism or commentary, but only by the courts’ own actions and accord.
“The suggestion that my tweets could shake the foundations of the most powerful court in the world is an over-estimation of my abilities,” Kamra had said in response to one of the contempt notice. “Just as the Supreme Court values the faith public places in it (and seeks to protect it by the exercise of its criminal contempt jurisdiction), it should also trust the public not to form its opinions of the Court on the basis of a few jokes on Twitter.”
In November, 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.
In another case, a sessions court in Varanasi on Thursday admitted a revision petition filed against a magistrate order that dismissed a criminal complaint seeking registration of a first information report against the comedian. 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.