Will Kunal Kamra and Rachita Taneja be Penalized for Contempt to Court?

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A three-judge bench has been constituted for the pleas submitted by various people against Kunal Kamra and Rachita Taneja for contempt of court.

The bench constituting of Justice Ashok Bhushan, RS Reddy, and MR Shah, directed the well-known, fame accustomed, stand-up comedian, Kunal Kamra and cartoonist, Rachita Taneja to file in their replies to court within six weeks.

While more than two individuals wrote a letter to KK Venugopal, Attorney General of India, seeking permission for filing a plea against the comedian Kunal Kamra, the law student Shrirang Katneshwarkar, and others had contended that the comedian made a series of tweets which harshly criticized the proceedings of the Supreme Court, after the court heard Arnab Goswami’s plea.

As for the cartoonist, Rachita Taneja,  another law student, Aditya Kashyap submitted that Taneja’s recent work, which she posted on social media, was contemptuous and urged the court to restrain her from publishing material that undermines the Supreme Court’s authority.

What made these artists post such contemptuous posts on social media with respect to the Supreme Court?

The series of tweets by Kunal and the posts by Rachita started after they criticized the Supreme Court of being biases, as the court granted bail to Arnab Goswami, regarding the ‘abetment to suicide’ case of 2018, on November 11’ 2020.

While elaborating on its ruling, the court said that

criminal law should not become a tool for selective harassment of citizens.

Kunal Kamra’s series of tweets started after the Supreme Court fast-tracked the Republic TV owner, Arnab Goswami’s bail plea in the abetment to suicide case, while there are lakhs of people in the country for whom the court has still not been able to find a date for their hearing, and such undertrials are rotting in the local/country jails as the court neglects such people.

Subsequently, the consent for initiation of contempt to court proceedings against Taneja was given by KK Venugopal on December 1’ 2020. The content creator is being prosecuted because of her tweets (2) regarding the Bail which was granted to Goswami by the SC. The same extends to one of the cartoons that were posted by the artist which clearly implied that the SC favors the ruling party of  BJP.

As Kamra stood by his tweet, “No lawyers, no apology, no fine, no waste of space”, there was no representation on his part in the court during the hearing, while Nishant Katneshwar represented the petitioners on Thursday.

However, the bench has asked the accused to file their responses within six weeks, adding that they do not need to appear in person before the court.


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