Test of magnanimity

Nobody takes a comedian seriously. Why should the apex court?

Test of magnanimity

Photo for representational purpose only

BARELY three months after it held activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court, the Supreme Court’s power of contempt is back in the news. This time, it’s because of Attorney General KK Venugopal’s decision to give his consent to initiate criminal contempt of court proceedings against stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra for his tweets allegedly scandalising the apex court after it gave interim bail to TV channel owner Arnab Goswami last week. Going by Venugopal’s opinion, Kamra’s tweets are ‘in bad taste’, ‘highly objectionable’ and constitute criminal contempt of court as they clearly cross the line between humour and contempt of court. Even before the top court could take up the matter, Kamra has aggravated the situation by refusing to retract his controversial tweets or apologise for them, saying he believed they ‘speak for themselves’. The comedian has also raised the issue of ‘important’ petitions such as those on demonetisation, nullification of Article 370, the electoral bonds scheme and ‘countless other matters pending before the top court’.

It’s nobody’s case that the Supreme Court is always right and can’t be criticised at all. Some of the issues raised by Kamra are legitimate. But it appears that while attempting to push the boundary, the comedian has crossed it. He should know freedom comes with responsibility. The Supreme Court has two options available to it. First, it can hold Kamra guilty of contempt of court and send him to jail. Second, it can follow the House of Lords, which in the Spycatcher case spared Daily Mirror that had published an upside-down picture of three law lords with the caption, ‘You Old Fools’. The House of Lords said if one was a fool or not was a matter of perception.

In a democratic set-up, the dynamics of the relationship between citizens and institutions need not be governed by letters of law alone. Given the fact that Kamra is a comedian, expected to prick and provoke to elicit a good laugh, showing magnanimity is a far better option as it would enhance the court’s credibility as an institution. In any case, nobody takes a comedian seriously. Why should the Supreme Court?

Don't Miss

Arrival of pets has been the exact disruption we needed

Arrival of pets has been the exact disruption we needed

Modi to Ganguly, how different is BCCI?

Modi to Ganguly, how different is BCCI?

Sins of the father & the aftermath

Sins of the father & the aftermath

Summer of 69, in Himalayas

Summer of 69, in Himalayas

Congress in need of overhaul

Congress in need of overhaul

Top Stories

Himachal enforces night curfew in Covid-affected Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, Kangra districts

Himachal enforces night curfew in Covid-affected Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, Kangra districts

The fine for not wearing masks has been increased from Rs 50...

Supreme Court pulls up Delhi, Gujarat over worsened Covid situation

Supreme Court pulls up Delhi, Gujarat over worsened Covid situation

Seeks status reports by Thursday; further hearing on Friday

Rail services resume in Punjab; coal rakes reach Banawala thermal plant

Rail services resume in Punjab; coal rakes reach Banawala thermal plant

17 trains to run in Punjab, J&K from November 24

Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi dies at 84

Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi dies at 84

The 84-year-old three-time Assam CM was admitted to GMCH aft...

Youth shoots self dead after killing ex-girlfriend, her parents in Bathinda

Youth shoots self dead after killing ex-girlfriend, her parents in Bathinda

In video, he accused the trio of threatening to slap rape ch...

Cities

View All