New Delhi: It is seldom that a stand-up comic takes on the apex court. But Kunal Kamra is hell-bent on doing just that, doggedly refusing to retract his controversial tweets against the Supreme Court, reasoning that he believes they "speak for themselves".
Kamra's statement comes a day after Attorney General K K Venugopal consented to initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against the comic for a series of uncharitable tweets on the court’s decision to give interim bail to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami.
Kaamra’s troubles mounted on Friday with a plea being filed in the Supreme Court by a group of lawyers and law students to initiate proceedings against him for scandalising the court though his tweets.
"The alleged contemnor (Kamra) is followed by 1.7 million people. The scandalous tweets were seen by his fans and many of them retweeted the same", said the plea.
On Thursday, the AG, in a response to the letters of petitioners in the matter, had said that it is time people understand that attacking the Supreme Court unjustifiably and brazenly will attract punishment.
"All that I tweeted was my view of the Supreme Court giving a partial decision in favour of a Prime Time Loudspeaker," Kamra said on Friday in a statement addressed to Venugopal and the judges on his Twitter page.
"My view hasn't changed because the silence of the Supreme Court of India on matters of other's personal liberty cannot go uncriticised. I don't intend to retract my tweets or apologise for them. I believe they speak for themselves," he added.
Kamra, who was banned by several airlines after he heckled Goswami on an IndiGo flight earlier this year, said he enjoys a platform with a captive audience but a time slot before the Supreme Court is a scarce commodity and should go to more pressing issues in front of the nation.
He also referred to contempt proceedings against lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who had refused to apologise for his derogatory tweets and was held guilty of contempt earlier this year.
The stand-up comedian and satirist then went on to list the important petitions pending in front of the court, listing the pleas on demonetisation, the challenge to the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status, the matter of the legality of electoral bonds and "countless other matters that are more deserving of time and attention".
The consent of either the attorney general or the solicitor general is necessary, under section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, for initiating contempt proceedings against a person.
The petitioners have insisted that Kamra was fully aware of his actions. "When some persons tried to make the alleged contemnor aware about the contempt of court, he was rude, arrogant and unapologetic. The conduct of the alleged contemnor shows that he has no regard for this court", said the plea.
The petitioners said though the Supreme Court has let off contemnors in the past upon them tendering an apology, but this case is different. "Citizens of this country strongly believe that people like the alleged contemnor should not be spared at any cost", says the plea seeking action against Kamra.