AG grants consent for contempt proceedings against Kunal Kamra over fresh tweet


PTI, Nov 20, 2020, 6:46 PM IST

New Delhi: Attorney General K K Venugopal Friday gave consent for initiating contempt proceedings against stand-up comic artist Kunal Kamra for his November 18 tweet, saying it was “grossly vulgar and obnoxious” and tended to lower the authority of the Supreme Court.

The top law officer had last week granted consent for initiation of contempt proceedings against Kamra for his earlier tweets which allegedly criticised the apex court, saying they were in “bad taste” and it was time people understood that attacking it brazenly will attract punishment.

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.

Venugopal granted the fresh consent on a request made in this regard by Prayagraj-based advocate Anuj Singh.

Kamra, in his November 18 tweet, had made an objectionable gesture while making a comment against the Chief Justice of India.

“I have gone through your request for consent under section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 against Kunal Kamra in respect of the tweet dated November 18, 2020 (at 9.46 PM),” the Attorney General said in his letter to Singh.

“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,” he said.

“In view of the above, I accordingly grant consent under section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1975,” Venugopal said

Armed with the consent granted earlier by the Attorney General, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court on November 13 seeking initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against Kamra for his alleged “scandalous tweets” against the apex court.

The petition has claimed that Kamra had started publishing tweets on November 11 when the top court was hearing the appeal of journalist Arnab Goswami against the Bombay High Court’s order rejecting his plea seeking interim bail in the 2018 abetment to suicide case.

It has alleged that after the top court had granted interim bail to Goswami on November 11, Kamra “again published various tweets and thereby scandalized” the apex court and “further lowered” its authority

While granting consent earlier, Venugopal had said today people believe that they can “boldly and brazenly condemn” the Supreme Court of India and its judges by exercising their freedom of speech, but under the Constitution, the freedom of speech is subject to the law of contempt.

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