Facing a contempt case for his tweets, comedian Kunal Kamra has responded to the Supreme Court in a six page affidavit. In his own style, Kamra has made a case that he had no intention to diminish the citizen's faith in the Supreme Court as an institution.
From the case against Munnawar Farooqi to rising intolerance in the nation - a range of current topics have found a mention in his affidavit. "I believe there should be no defence for jokes. The humour attempts to blunt the grimness of a situation and offers a measure of comfort to the afflicted. Jokes cannot make the heavens fall," Kamra said in his affidavit filed through advocate Pritha Iyer.
Further, the comedian said that his tweets, because of which he is now facing contempt, weren't intended to lower the repute of the highest court. "The suggestion that my tweets could shake the foundations of this most powerful court in the world is an over-estimation of my abilities. Just as the SC values the faith the public places in it; it should also trust the public not to form opinions on the basis of jokes on Twitter," he stated.
"The public's faith in the judiciary is founded on the institution's own action and not on basis of any criticism or commentary about it," he added.
Kamra further said that to believe that institutions of power in a democracy is like saying "migrants need to find their way back home during an ill-planned nationwide lockdown: it is irrational and undemocratic."
"I believe that constitutional offices including the judicial offices know no protection from jokes," Kamra said, adding, "I do not believe that any higher authority including judges would find themselves unable to discharge their duties only on account of being subject to satire or comedy."
The comic further highlighted "his own unique way of comedy which doesn't have an intention to insult but to draw attention to issues that are relevant to the country's democracy."
The affidavit also make note of the rising concept of intolerance wherein "taking offence is seen as a fundamental right and is elevated to the status of most loved national indoor sport."
"We are witnessing an assault on freedom of speech with comedians like Munnawar Farooqi being jailed for jokes that he never made, school students being interrogated for sedition," he pointed out, adding, "I hope this court will demonstrate that free speech is a cardinal constitutional value and recognise the possibility of getting offended is a necessary incident to this right."
"If powerful authorities like the apex court continue to intolerate rebuke or criticism, then India would be reduced to a country of incarcerated artists and flourishing lapdogs," he added.