Understanding the whole Kunal Kamra contempt of court situation

Ankit Kumar
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kunal kamra

Know what is contempt of court and what are the punishments?


 

After the Supreme Court granted bail to Arnab Goswami on account of personal liberty, Kunal Kamra had criticized the Supreme Court for granting bail to the Republic TV Anchor. In a series of tweets, he had mocked the Supreme Court of India and said that the SC is the biggest joke of the country. In one of his tweets, he said that lawyers should stop using Honorable in Courts.

 

 

 

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These tweets didn’t do well with social media users as they trolled him on the Internet. Later two law student and a group of lawyers moved to Supreme Court to seek contempt action against Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra for “lowering the authority” and “scandalizing” the court. The pled was filed by law students, Nitika Duhan and Shrirang Katneshwarkar, and advocates Sattyendra Vinayak Muley, Abhishek Sharad Raskar and Amey Abhay Sirisikar.

On Thursday, Attorney General Venugopal, while responding to the multiple letters of request, had granted his consent for initiation of contempt proceedings against Kunal. He said that Kamra’s tweets were not only bad in taste but also crossed the line between humour and contempt of court. He said that people believe that they can brazenly and boldly condemn the top court and its judges in the name of freedom of speech. “I believe that it is an appropriate time for people to understand that attacking the Supreme Court of India will attract punishment under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1972.”

 

What is Contempt of Court?

There are two types of Contempt of Court, one is Civil Contempt and the other is Criminal Contempt. Civil contempt is willful disobedience of any judgement, order, direction, decree, writ or other process of a court, or willful breach of an undertaking given to a court. Criminal contempt is attracted by the publication of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which lowers or tends to lower, scandalizes or tend to scandalize the authority of the court. Or prejudices, or interferes, or tends to interfere with, the due course of any proceeding. Or interferes or tends to interfere, obstructs or tends to obstruct the administration of justice in any matter.

According to the Contempt of Courts Act, 1972, people found guilty of contempt of court may be punished with imprisonment up to 6 months or Rs 2,000 fine or both. However, if the accused apologies which satisfy the court, then he can escape punishment.

The freedom of expressions vs Contempt of Court has been in debate in the last few months. Earlier, advocate Prashant Bhushan was found guilty of contempt of court his two tweets. He was charged with a fine of Re 1 as he had refused to apologize for the tweets.

 

Who is right here?

The action against Kunal Kamra is totally understandable as he has attacked the highest judiciary authority of the country. No one should be allowed to degrade the Supreme Court of India no matter who he/she is. There is a line between comedy and saying that the Supreme Court is the biggest joke. What would the followers and admirers of Kunal Kamra think of the Supreme Court now? Isn’t it an attempt to normalize the degradation of the apex court?

On the other hand, someone could say that we as a country boast about freedom of expression and then stop someone from criticizing the decision of Supreme Court in one of its matter. If no one would speak, then how the top the court would know that the common man isn’t happy with a particular decision (selective approach to Arnab’s case, there are many who should be granted bail on the account of personal liberty this fastly).

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