I did not intend to diminish public faith in judiciary: Comedian Kunal Kamra

New Delhi: Standup comedian Kunal Kamra on Friday submitted to the Supreme Court that his ‘controversial’ tweets were not published with the intention of diminishing the faith of the people in the highest court of democracy.

“Just as the Supreme Court values the faith in the public spaces, it should trust that the public does not form its opinions on the basis of a few jokes on Twitter,” his affidavit says.

The comedian claimed that the public faith is formed by court’s action not by criticism or commentary by anyone.

“The suggestion that my tweets can shake the foundations of the most powerful court in the world is an overestimation of my abilities,” he said.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan was hearing the contempt case against the comedian for allegedly defaming the Top Court through some of his tweets.

On November 11 last year, Kamra had posted a morphed picture of the Supreme Court painted in saffron colour with the BJP flag hoisted on its building when the Apex Court granted bail to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in abetment to suicide case.

In another tweet, he had called the SC as “Supreme Joke of India”.

On December 18, the Apex Court issued a notice to Kamra on the petitions filed by Abhyuday Mishra, Skand Bajpai and Srirang Katneshwar for initiating a contempt case against the comedian.

Kamra in his affidavit mentioned that there is a growing culture of intolerance and cited the example of fellow stand up comedian Munawar Farooqui who is behind bars for his jokes.

He said with contempt his Freedom of Speech has been violated. “…..this court will demonstrate that the freedom of speech and expression is a cardinal constitutional value, and recognise that the possibility of being offended is a necessary incident to the exercise of this right”

Kamra warned that if powerful people and institutions continue to show an inability to tolerate rebuke or criticism, then the country will be reduced to incarcerated artists and flourishing lapdogs.

The bench, also comprising Justices R Shubhash Reddy and MR Shah, on the request of the petitioners, gave two weeks time to respond to the Kamra’s affidavit.

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