After obtaining the consent from Attorney General K K Venugopal, a law student has filed a plea for initiating criminal contempt proceedings against the famous comic artist Rachita Taneja for her alleged defamatory tweets against the Supreme Court.
The petition is moved by a law student Avinash Kashyap. The petition filed through advocate Namit Saxena stated, “The three alleged posts in the form of cartoons/ caricatures have shaken the public trust and confidence in the judicial system of our constitutional democracy by directly attacking and making insinuations against Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.” \
The petitioner has alleged that comic artist Rachita Taneja’s tweets from her official social media handle Sanitary Panels are outrageous, contemptuous, carry insinuations, and deliberately attribute motives to Supreme Court judges and their judgments.
Attorney General K K Venugopal has given the consent to initiate the contempt proceedings against Rachita Taneja considering her tweets of audacious assault. “I am satisfied that each one of the tweets with the cartoons attached to them is in contempt of the Supreme Court of India, and hence I give my consent to initiate proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 in regard to each one of the tweets,” said Attorney General Venugopal.
In one of her tweet, Taneja had shared a cartoon illustrating that Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami intimidating Supreme Court by stating that Bharatiya Janata Party is his father.
Drawing attention to the same tweet, petitioner Avinash Kashyap stated, “On the face of it, the alleged contemnor has interfered with the administration of justice by portraying the Supreme Court and the current ruling party to be the father of the abovesaid journalist Mr Arnab Goswami. This is in view to generate an impression that being the father of the said journalist. the Supreme Court was bound to grant him warmth and protection by keeping an arm around his shoulder and there was some nexus with the ruling establishment for this.”
The petitioner had also mentioned the second tweet about calling the top court “Sanghi Court of India’ in the petition and stated, “the said cartoon/caricature is highly contemptuous. The building of the Supreme Court has been drawn with the words “Sanghi Court of India”. That the expression ‘Sanghi’ is infact used to connote Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). The alleged contemnor has expressed that the Supreme Court of the country is no more supreme but has transformed into a Sanghi Court. This is highly contumacious and without any basis whatsoever.”
“It is also noteworthy that the alleged contemnor has also replaced the national flag of the country with that of saffron flag of RSS at the helm of the building of the apex court of this country. This is clearly undermining the dignity of this Hon’ble court by replacing a national emblem and is a direct assault on the independent institution of judiciary,” said the plea.
In order to initiate contempt proceedings against a person, the consent of either the Attorney General or Solicitor General is mandatory under section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. The contempt charges may attract a punishment up to 6 months of imprisonment and fine up to Rs 2,000.
Recently, the top court found lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court for two of his tweets and fined him Re 1. Contempt of court proceedings are also initiated against the standup comedian Kunal Kamra for his alleged objectionable tweets.