The Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud on Thursday (5 January) recused himself from hearing petitions seeking contempt of court action against stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra over his tweets.
“Let the matter be listed before a bench of which I am not a member,” CJI Chandrachud said when the matter came up before a bench comprising him and Justice PY Narasimha.
However, when the counsel said they had no problem if he heard it, the CJI nonetheless refused, saying, “No, the comments were made on the order which I have passed.”
He was referring to a tweet made by Kamra in the aftermath of November 2020 Supreme Court order, granting bail to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, who had challenged the Bombay High Court order rejecting his interim bail plea in the 2018 Anvay Naik abetment-to-suicide case.
Subsequently, Kamra took to Twitter to express his frustration against the decision, which ridiculed the Supreme Court, criticized its pace of functioning, and even took shots at DY Chandrachud, who was then a Judge at the Supreme Court.
Kamra later defended his remarks, calling it a 'contempt of joke'. Kamra is facing contempt pleas under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.
While giving his consent for contempt proceedings against Kamra, as mandated by the Act, Attorney General KK Venugopal said the tweets are, “not only in bad taste but clearly cross the line between humour and contempt of court.”
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