The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to stand-up comic Kunal Kamra and cartoonist Rachita Taneja on pleas for contempt action against them for tweets allegedly scandalising the court.
A Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R S Reddy, and M R Shah directed Kamra and Taneja to file their replies in six weeks.
The court, which reserved its decision on Thursday, exempted the comedian and the cartoonist from appearing in person.
Law student Shrirang Katneshwarkar and others have contended that tweets posted by Kamra after the Supreme Court heard Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami’s challenge to the Bombay High Court order that rejected his plea for interim bail in a 2018 abetment-of-suicide case, had “scandalized” the top court and “further lowered” its authority.
Another law student, Aditya Kashyap, has submitted that some of Taneja’s social media posts are contemptuous, and urged the court to restrain her from publishing material that undermines its authority.
Granting his consent for initiation of contempt proceedings, Attorney General for India K K Venugopal 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. But… freedom of speech is subject to the law of contempt and… it is time that people understand that attacking the Supreme Court unjustifiedly… will attract punishment…”
Allowing the request for contempt action against Taneja, Venugopal had said: “I am satisfied that each one of the tweets… is in contempt of the Supreme Court of India, and hence I give my consent to initiate proceedings…”