CJI Chandrachud Recuses from Hearing Contempt Plea against Comedian Kunal Kamra

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NEW DELHI – Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud on Thursday recused himself from hearing a clutch of petitions seeking initiation of contempt action against comedian Kunal Kamra for publishing tweets making “undignified” and “derogatory” comments against the top court.

As a bench headed by Chief Justice Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha took up the petitions seeking contempt action against Kamra, the Chief Justice said the matter will be placed before a bench, where he is not a part, because the comments (tweets) were made on the order, which he had passed.

The top court listed the matter after two weeks. In 2020, Kamra had started tweeting, when the top court was hearing an appeal of Arnab Goswami against the Bombay High Court’s order rejecting his plea for interim bail in a 2018 abetment-to-suicide case. A bench headed by then Justice Chandrachud had granted interim bail to Goswami.

Kamra, in an affidavit, had told the Supreme Court that his tweets were not published with the intention to diminish the faith of people in the highest court of the country.

“To believe any institution of power in a democracy is beyond criticism is like saying migrants need to find their way back home during ill-planned, nationwide lockdown: it is irrational and undemocratic,” said Kamra in an affidavit in January 2021.

The top court, in December 2020, issued show-cause notice to Kamra for his tweets against the apex court and exempted him from personal appearances.

Then Attorney General K.K. Venugopal had granted consent for initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against Kamra, saying it was time that people understood that attacking the apex court brazenly would attract punishment.

Criminal contempt of the Supreme Court is punishable with a fine of up to Rs 2,000 and imprisonment of up to six months. One of the petitioners seeking initiation of contempt against Kamra is law student Shrirang Katneshwarkar. -IANS

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