Kunal Kamra can influence the minds of his followers and create a “chain reaction”, a law student who filed a contempt case against the comedian told the Supreme Court in his rejoinder affidavit, Bar and Bench reported on Saturday.
“One cannot deny that keyboard warriors like the alleged contemnor can influence the minds of his followers thereby creating a chain reaction,” said Shrirang Katneshwarkar, the 22-year-old law student from Aurangabad.
Kamra is facing contempt charges in connection with a series of tweets he put out 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 January, the comedian had refused to apologise for his tweets in response to the contempt petition. He had said that “jokes are not reality and do not claim to be so”.
Responding to this, Katneshwarkar said when Kamra understands that jokes are not reality, then there was no not need for him to publish the “scandalous tweets” and undermine the dignity of the court. “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser,” the law student said.
He said any “ordinary prudent man” can gather from the comedian’s tweets against the Supreme Court are “obnoxious”. “Therefore the contempt petitioners who are responsible and law-abiding citizens of this country have rightly filed the present criminal contempt proceedings,” the rejoinder affidavit said.
Katneshwarkar said that it seems from Kamra’s conduct that he believes in getting defamed because it includes fame, reported Live Law. The petitioner said it was necessary to penalise the comedian with maximum punishment in order to dissuade him and like-minded persons from repeating such acts of criminal contempt.
The law student called Kamra’s submissions a “feeble attempt to brands his scandalous tweets as jokes”. He submitted that the comedian had no business to suggest that the public’s faith in the judiciary is found on the institution’s own actions.
On Kamra tell the court that he will respect any decision in the contempt proceedings with a smile, the petitioner said it showed the comedian’s scornful attitude. Katneshwarkar called Kamra’s reply as “nothing but brazen aggravated contempt”.
The petitioner submitted that Kamra tried to teach the court its duties to protect the fundamental rights of citizens, but if he really was a cognisant citizen, he would have taken steps by participating in the court’s proceedings.
In his reply, Kamra had said that his tweets were not published with the intention of insulting the court but to draw its attention to matters that he believed were relevant to the Indian democracy.
Attorney General KK Venugopal had given his consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Kamra in November. One of these tweets was the picture of the Supreme Court building swathed in saffron colour.