New Delhi, December 2: From Prashant Bhushan to Kunal Kamra and now Rachita Taneja: The charge of contempt of court has fallen upon senior lawyers, stand-up comedians and now a webcomic creator. The Attorney-General of India KK. Venugopal has granted consent for contempt of court proceedings to be initiated against artist Rachita Taneja for tweets that were considered an “audacious assault and insult to the institution” of the Supreme Court.
The issue is a tweet by Taneja, who runs the popular ‘Sanitary Panels’ webcomic, that appeared to insinuate the apex court was biased towards the ruling BJP party.
Law student Aditya Kashyap wrote a letter seeking permission to initiate contempt proceedings against the cartoonist, attaching tweets from Taneja, The Week reported.
One showed a caricature of Republic editor Arnab Goswami, who was recently released on bail after the Supreme Court’s intervention, along with stick figure depictions of the Supreme Court and the BJP with the text, “Tu Janta Nahi Mera Baap Kaun Hai” (you don’t know who my father is).
“If the first tweet depicting Arnab Goswami with the Supreme Court of India and Bhartiya Janata Party by his side and with Arnab mouthing the words, ‘Tu jaanta nahin mera baap kaun hai’ were to be believed, one would have to proceed on the basis that the BJP is somehow interested in protecting Arnab Goswami and has prevailed upon the Supreme Court to do so, Therefore, the clear implication would be that the Supreme Court of India is biased towards the ruling political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and would tailor its judgement for he benefit of the ruling party,” the letter states.
“Similarly, the second tweet referring to the Supreme Court as ‘Sanghi Court of India’, apparently a reference to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh with the legend, “Arnab gets bail, real journalists get jail, independent judiciary is fail,” carries a gross insinuation against the Apex Court of this country…” the letter continues.
In response, Attorney General Venugopal wrote, “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 move has already sparked criticism, as some tweeted expressing solidarity with Taneja.
As per the Contempt of Courts Act, the punishment for a conviction can include “simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both”.