Petition seeks criminal contempt action against comic artist for tweets scandalising judiciary

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A law student has moved the Supreme Court seeking initiation of criminal contempt of court proceedings against comic artist Rachita Taneja for her tweets allegedly scandalising the Supreme Court.

Petitioner Aditya Kashyap filed a petition days after Attorney General KK Venugopal granted his consent for it.

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 in the Supreme Court.

Taneja’s tweets linking the Supreme Court to a particular ideology “threatened the very existence of the Supreme Court,” Kashyap submitted.

Kashyap had sought the Attorney General’s consent to initiate criminal contempt of court proceedings against Taneja citing a caricature that allegedly depicted a quid pro quo relationship between the judiciary and the government with regard to the Ayodhya verdict. She had also allegedly insinuated the top court for giving bail to TV journalist Arnab Goswami.

“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,” the had AG said in his letter to Kashyap.

Earlier, the Attorney General KK Venugopal had on November 12 given his consent to initiate criminal contempt of court proceedings against standup comedian Kunal Kamra for his tweets insinuating the Supreme Court after it gave bail to Arnab Goswami in an abetment to suicide case.

Terming Kamra’s tweets as “highly objectionable”, Venugopal had said in his opinion it “constitutes criminal contempt of court.”

“The tweets are not only in bad taste but clearly cross the line between humour and contempt of court, the Attorney General, who recently refused to give consent for initiating contempt of court proceedings against several persons,” had said.

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