SC order on Kamra, Taneja contempt pleas today

Supreme Court order on contempt plea against Kunal Kamra, Rachita Taneja on December 18

The bench asked the lawyer not to read the alleged contemptuous tweets of the comic artist in the open court

Supreme Court of India. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on a batch of contempt petitions filed against stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra and another comic artist Rachita Taneja over their tweets mocking the top court.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah said it would pronounce the order on Friday.

Advocate Nishant Katneshwarkar, appearing for the petitioner, a law student, pointed out multiple scandalous tweets were made by Kamra against the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of India. He also said the Attorney General K K Venugopal had already granted consent for initiating contempt.

Also read — Social media must not be curbed: K K Venugopal

When the advocate started to read the tweets, the bench told him that it was unnecessary. 

The counsel said even when someone pointed out to Kamra that he would be liable for the contempt, he again said, "You mean contempt of joke?" 

The counsel said, "He (Kamra) is comparing the Supreme Court to a joke."

Arguing for another contempt case against cartoonist Taneja, senior advocate P S Narasimha contended her tweets were clearly calculated to undermine the confidence of the public in judiciary. He said the Attorney General was clearly of the opinion that there were instances intended to scandalise the judiciary.

"There were allegations that the Supreme Court is biased in favour of the ruling party," he said.

The court said it would pronounce order in her case as well.

Armed with mandatory consent from the Attorney General, a batch of petitions were filed against Kamra by Abhyudaya Mishra, Shrirang Katneshwarkar, Skand Bajpai against Kamra and one by Aditya Kashyap against Taneja.

Kamra had posted "objectionable tweets" against the Supreme Court and its judges, including Justice D Y Chandrachud for taking up bail plea by Republic TV's Editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami. 

Similarly, following the top court's order granting bail to Goswami, Taneja through a Twitter handle @sanitarypanels posted a number of tweets including one in which she described the Supreme Court as "Sanghi Court of India".

Other tweets that were found "objectionable" were posted by her in August. One was related to alleged quid pro quo on the nomination of former CJI Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha and the other on the Ayodhya case judgement by a five-judge bench in November 2019.

A consent by the Attorney General or the Solicitor General is mandatory under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act for initiating such a petition.