Attorney General (AG) K.K. Venugopal on Friday termed a tweet by comedian Kunal Kamra targeting Chief Justice S A Bobde, “grossly vulgar and obnoxious”, and twice in a row granted consent to initiate contempt of court proceedings against him.
On November 12, the AG had said he believes it is time that people understand that attacking the Supreme Court unjustifiably and brazenly will attract punishment, while granting consent to initiate contempt against Kamra for his tweets on Supreme Court for granting bail to Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami in a 2018 abetment of suicide case. Recently, Kamra uploaded another contentious tweet attacking the Chief Justice with a lewd gesture.
The AG, in a response to a complaint, citing Kamra’s tweet on November 18 said: “The depiction of the two fingers, with the legend that he means the middle one, is to deliberately insult the Chief Justice of India, which would equally be an insult to the Supreme Court of India itself, which the Chief Justice heads.”
The AG emphasised, after going through the tweet, he found it “grossly vulgar and obnoxious”. He insisted that he has no doubt that it would tend to lower the authority of the Supreme Court as well as undermine the confidence that the litigant public have in the institution of the Supreme Court. “In view of the above, I accordingly grant consent under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1975″, said the AG.
The complainant Anuj Singh, who is an advocate at Allahabad High Court, had requested the AG to grant consent to initiate contempt action against Kamra, claiming that the tweet had gone viral and brought disrepute to the institution of the judiciary. Singh had written to the AG seeking his consent under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.
A contemnor can be punished with simple imprisonment of up to 6 months or with a fine of up to Rs 2,000 or with both.
Earlier, Shrirang Katneshwarkar, a final-year law student from Aurangabad, had written to the AG to initiate contempt against Kamra for scandalising the Supreme Court.
In the letter, he had attached the alleged tweets where derogatory content was published against the top court. Katneshwarkar sought proceedings against Kamra under criminal contempt of the Supreme Court of India as per Section 2 (c) (i) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.
The AG had said: “I find that today people believe that they can boldly and brazenly condemn the Supreme Court of India and its judges by exercising what they believe is their freedom of speech.”