Comic artist elicits Attorney General's wrath over post on Supreme Court

Each society sets its own threshold of tolerance, just as each society has its holy cows.

Attorney General K. K. Venugopal has the onerous responsibility of drawing the red line when it comes to the Apex Court. This time he has given his nod to initiate contempt of court proceedings against comic artist Rachita Taneja for tweets which were perceived as an "audacious assault and insult to the institution” of the Supreme Court, reports Bar and Bench.

A law student took umbrage at Taneja's offerings which suggested that the "Supreme Court of India was biased towards the ruling party" and drew the AG’s attention to the transgressions.

Sample this: After the Supreme Court granted interim bail to journalist Arnab Goswami, Taneja, who operates the twitter handle @sanitarypanels, tweeted a cartoon depicting the BJP, the Supreme Court, and a reporter with the text "Tu Janta Nahi Mera Baap Kaun Hai" (you don't know who my father is).

In his letter seeking permission to initiate contempt proceedings against the cartoonist, law student Aditya Kashyap attached an excerpt of another tweet dated August 7 this year, which stated, “Let’s not forget how we got here.”

The caption is accompanied by a caricature that depicts a quid pro quo relationship between the judiciary and the Central government in delivering the Ayodhya Judgment.

Another tweet by Taneja which the AG found obnoxious carried the text “Arnab gets bail, real journalists get jail, independent judiciary is fail.” This caption comes with the picture of the Supreme Court with a saffron flag at the top and engraved “SANGHI COURT OF INDIA”, thereby depicting that the Supreme Court’s allegiance is to an ideology and not to the Constitution.

Kashyap's letter states, "The tweets and posts mentioned herein and the publication thereof scandalizes the Hon’ble Supreme Court, insinuates and attributes motives behind judgments of the Court. The line between humour and contempt of the Court has also been clearly violated. These posts not only erode the trust in the institution of justice by casting aspersions on the justice delivery mechanism, but also interferes with administration of justice. The tweets and posts are based on the distorted facts, inspired by malice, and amount to committing of ‘criminal contempt’."

The AG responded with the following: I am satisfied that each of the tweets with cartoons attached is in contempt of the Supreme Court of India, hence I grant my consent.

Rachita started her webcomic series in 2014 and soon had thousands flocking to her site. She ‘‘tends to focus on sexism, misogyny and feminism, and frequently comments on political and social justice issues.’’

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