Top Law Officer Allows Contempt Proceedings Against Comedian Kunal Kamra (20-11-2020)

New Delhi: 

Attorney General KK Venugopal on Friday gave consent for contempt proceedings against comedian 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 last week allowed contempt proceedings against Mr Kamra for his earlier tweets that criticised the Supreme Court, saying they were in "bad taste" and it was time people understood that attacking the top court brazenly will be punished.

The consent of either the Attorney General or the Solicitor General is necessary, under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, for contempt proceedings against a person.

Mr Venugopal gave the fresh consent on a request by Prayagraj-based advocate Anuj Singh.

"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 Mr 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," the top law officer said.

"In view of the above, I accordingly grant consent under section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1975," Mr Venugopal said.

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

The petition said Mr Kamra started tweeting on November 11 when the Supreme Court was hearing the appeal of Republic TV's Arnab Goswami against the Bombay High Court's order rejecting his plea seeking interim bail in an abetment to suicide case filed in 2018.

The petition said that after the Supreme Court granted interim bail to Mr Goswami on November 11, Mr Kamra "again published various tweets and thereby scandalised" the Supreme Court and "further lowered" its authority.

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

21 Nov 2020