For the second time in a row, the Supreme Court adjourned hearing a bunch of contempt petitions accusing stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra of scandalising the Supreme Court with his tweets.
A Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy, on Monday, scheduled the case to be taken up after four weeks. The case was adjourned after the court received a request from one of the petitioners for time to file a rejoinder. The petitioners are Abhyudaya Mishra, Skand Bajpai and Shrirang Katneshwarkar.
Last time too, the Bench had adjourned the case by two weeks.
On that occasion, a petitioner had sought time to file his response to Mr. Kamra’s affidavit. Mr. Kamra had said the phenomenon of “taking offence” to comedy or satire has been elevated to the status of a much-loved indoor sport in a growing culture of intolerance”.
Taking offence is now seen as a fundamental right, Mr. Kamra had said.
“The suggestion that my tweets could shake the foundations of the most powerful court in the world is an over-estimation of my abilities… Just as the Supreme Court values the faith public places in it, it should also trust the public not to form its opinions of the court on the basis of a few jokes on Twitter… My tweets were not published with the intention of diminishing the faith of the people in the highest court,” Mr. Kamra had said in his affidavit in January.
“Comedians like Munawar Faruqui are jailed for jokes they did not make. School students are interrogated for sedition,” Mr. Kamra had pointed out then.
He expressed a “hope the court will demonstrate that free speech is a cardinal constitutional value. If the powerful are unable to tolerate rebuke and criticism, we will be reduced to a country of incarcerated artists and floursihing lapdogs”.
He said jokes need no defence.