Supreme Court initiates contempt action against Kunal Kamra, Rachita Taneja

Top court issues show-cause notice to duo

The Supreme Court on Friday initiated contempt proceedings against stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra and cartoonist Rachita Taneja for scandalising the court and the highest judiciary with their tweets.

A three-judge Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah issued notice asking Mr. Kamra and Ms. Taneja to show cause why they should not be punished for contempt of court.

Both Ms. Taneja and Mr. Kamra have been exempted from personal appearance in court. Usually, persons facing contempt action have to be present during the hearing.

The notice to them is returnable in six weeks.

On Thursday, the Bench had heard petitioners seeking contempt action against the duo and decided to pass its orders after a day.

The petitioners, mostly law students and lawyers, had moved the Supreme Court after getting the statutory consent for contempt action from Attorney General K.K. Venugopal.

In the case against Mr. Kamra, law student Shrirang Katneshwarkar’s counsel Nishant Katneshwarkar had submitted that the tweets by the comic were scandalous.

Mr. Katneshwarkar had given a date-wise chronology of the various tweets of the comedian.

Mr. Venugopal had consented to contempt action against Mr. Kamra, saying the tweets were grossly vulgar and obnoxious.

Mr. Kamra had refused to apologise or retract the tweets. Instead, he had tweeted that he wished to “volunteer” the time that may be allotted for hearing his contempt case to others “who have not been as lucky and privileged as I am to jump the queue”.

The AG had also found Ms. Taneja’s cartoons, which she had tweeted, scandalous with an intent to undermine the judiciary. The cartoons concern the top court’s grant of bail to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami.

Mr. Venugopal had, in his consent letter, said the tweets carried the “gross insinuation” that the court had “ceased to be an impartial organ of the State”.

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