Days after consent for contempt proceedings against comics, AG Venugopal bats for 'open discussions on social media'

Days after giving the green signal for contempt of court proceedings against two individuals over their recent tweets, Attorney General KK Venugopal opined on Monday that discussion on social media, or indeed freedom of speech should not be curbed in a "healthy democracy". Home comments come amid criticism over the recent proceedings.

In an interview with NDTV, he noted that the Supreme Court initiated contempt cases in the rarest of rare cases.

"The Supreme Court normally does not react to criticism unless lines are crossed," he explained.

"To curtail this would be unnecessary and the government should not bring any move to curtail this freedom. We need open democracy and open discussions," he added.

But even as the AG bats for the freedom of expression, many have expressed consternation over the cases against stand-up comic Kunal Kamra and cartoonist Rachita Taneja (who runs Sanitary Panels). The approval of the AG or the Solicitor General is required before contempt proceedings can be initiated against a person. In the NDTV interview, the AG noted that he was "very much restrained in giving consent" to such requests for contempt proceedings.

For the uninitiated, Kamra is facing action for his tweets against the Supreme Court over it's recent verdict pertaining to Arnab Goswami. Venugopal had also recently consented to a law student initiating contempt proceedings against Taneja for posts that presented the Supreme Court as being "biased towards the ruling party".

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