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Drop contempt case against comedian Kunal Kamra: IIM-A student floats petition

By Our Representative

An Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) student has floated an online petition, addressed to attorney general KK Venugopal and Supreme Court chief justice SA Bobde to “drop the contempt proceedings against Kunal Kamra”, a stand-up comedian, who in several of his tweets had attacked the Supreme Court, calling it “Supreme joke” and posting a morphed picture of the apex court depicting a BJP flag hoisted on the building’s foyer.
Wondering, “Shouldn’t our highest court of justice, which has been globally respected for its impartiality, be subjected to the same voices of dissent?”, and “Irrespective of whether the dissent is genuine or in bad taste, should it be held as a ground for contempt of court even if it doesn’t obstruct justice?”, the petition asks signatories to endorse the following words, “We realise that we could also be held guilty of contempt of court but are willing to take that risk for the sake of defending our fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.”
Yuthish Prabakar R, IIM-A’s MBA student, who floated the petition, argued, Kamra’s tweets were “in light of the bail granted to journalist Arnab Goswami in a 2018 abetment to suicide case in a record time by Supreme Court. While granting bail to Goswami, Supreme Court judge Justice DY Chandrachud had asked High Courts to exercise their jurisdiction to uphold personal liberty.” The Socialist Party (India), one of whose leaders is a well-known academic Prof Sandeep Pandey, a visiting faculty of IIM-A, has sent mass emails for endorsing the petition.
The argument for the petition insisted, “Chandrachud also said that personal liberty is increasingly becoming a casualty in India and said ‘we will walk on path of destruction if the court does not intervene in the matter. Following these comments, people including Kamra, questioned why the same principle of personal liberty was not applied to other journalists and activists who are imprisoned on allegedly unfounded charges.”
Insisting that the proceedings against Kamra should be dropped, the petition said, while Kamra has rationalized his statements stating that, "My view hasn’t changed because the silence of the Supreme Court of India on matters of other’s personal liberty cannot go uncriticized", it is also a fact that in earlier instances, the attorney general, who allowed the contempt proceedings against Kamra, had denied consent against journalist Rajdeep Sardesai and actor Swara Bhaskar.
“AG Venugopal had rationalized in one of his letters that, ‘Trifling remarks and mere passing criticism though perhaps distasteful are unlikely to tarnish the image of the institution’," the argument said, adding, “He had also urged the Supreme Court to not proceed against advocate Prashant Bhushan in the suo motu contempt case initiated against him.”
The argument further said, “As pointed by Kamra in his tweets, it would be worthwhile to note that decisions over many important matters like demonetisation, abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), legality of electoral bonds, etc. are still pending in the apex court.” Additionally, it added, a number of activists, intellectuals, lawyers, human rights activists, including the ones in Bhima Koregaon case and Delhi riots case, are still languishing in jail”, asking why are voices of dissent sought to be “silenced”.

Comments

Harsh said…
God help my alma mater from these left leaning students and these left leaning visiting faculties.

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