Gujarat Exclusive > youth > Stand-up comic Kunal Kamra justifies his “scandalous” tweets in contempt case

Stand-up comic Kunal Kamra justifies his “scandalous” tweets in contempt case

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Stand-up comic Kunal Kamra has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court justifying his alleged scandalous tweets against the judiciary for which he is facing a contempt case.

He pointed out that a comedian raises issues of public interest in his own unique way and if the powerful people and institutions continue to show their intolerance towards rebuke or criticism, the country will be left with incarcerated artists and flourishing lapdogs.

Kamra had earlier too refused to apologise for his alleged scandalous tweets. He had then said, “No lawyers, No apology, No fine, No waste of space.” Notably, he had made some controversial tweets against the judiciary when an editor-in-chief of a news channel was granted interim bail by the apex court.

Kunal Kamra’s affidavit

Kunal Kamra, while justifying his tweets, in his affidavit said, “I may disagree with many decisions by many courts in many matters, but I promise this bench that I will respect any decision that comes my way with a broad smile. I will not vilify this bench or the Supreme Court in this matter specifically because that would actually be contempt of court.”

“Should powerful people and institutions continue to show an inability to tolerate rebuke or criticism, we would be reduced to a country of incarcerated artists and flourishing lapdogs. If this court believes I have crossed a line and wants to shut down my internet indefinitely, then I too will write Happy Independence Day post cards every 15th August, just like my Kashmiri friends,”

“We are witnessing an assault on the freedom of speech and expression, with comedians like Munawar Farooqi being jailed for jokes that they have not been made, and school students being interrogated for sedition. At such a time, I hope that this court will demonstrate that the freedom of speech and expression is cardinal constitutional value, and recognise that the possibility of being offended is a necessary incident to the exercise of this right.”

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Kamra said, “The language and style I resort to are not with the intention to insult, but to draw attention to and prompt an engagement with issues that I believe are relevant to our democracy and which have also been raised in the public domain by more serious and learned commentators.”

“I do not believe that any high authority, including judges, would find themselves unable to discharge their duties only on account of being the subject of satire or comedy,” he said.

“Just as the Supreme Court values the faith the public places in it (and seek to protect it by the exercise of its criminal contempt jurisdiction), it should also trust the public not to form its opinion of the court on the basis of a few jokes on Twitter. The public’s faith in the judiciary is founded on the institution’s own actions, and not on any criticism or commentary about it,” he added.

Jokes based on comedian’s perception

Kamra said that jokes are based on a comedian’s perception, which they use to make the audience that shares that perception laugh.

“Most people do not react to jokes that don’t make them laugh; they ignore them like our political leaders ignore their critics. That is where the joke must end. The truth about the attention economy is that the more attention one gives to criticism or ridicule, the more credible it appears to be,” he said.

 

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