After AG’s Consent, Contempt Plea Against Rachita Taneja in SC

The Quint
·3-min read

Following the consent of Attorney General KK Venugopal, a law student has moved the Supreme Court with a petition for initiating criminal contempt proceedings against comic artist Rachita Taneja for her alleged objectionable tweets against the apex court.

Earlier in November, two weeks after he okayed contempt charges against stand-up comic Kunal Kamra, Attorney General of India KK Venugopal allowed a law student to initiate contempt of court proceedings against another comic, Taneja.

Granting consent to Aditya Kashyap, the law student, Venugopal said that Taneja’s tweets had presented the Supreme Court of India “as biased towards the ruling party."

“I have examined the three tweets and the cartoons depicted in the tweets. I am satisfied that each one of them is intended to denigrate the Supreme Court of India and to lower its authority in the eyes of the people,” wrote the Attorney-General in response to Kashyap’s request.   

Also Read: AG Gives Consent for Contempt of Court Plea Against Kunal Kamra

What did Taneja tweet?

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to grant interim bail to television anchor Arnab Goswami, Taneja, who tweets from a handle by the name of @sanitarypanels, had on 12 November posted a caricature in which there were three characters.

While one of the characters carried the text BJP in its face, the other was named Supreme Court. In between these two characters, a rather small character – the only one with hair on scalp – could be seen with a microphone with ‘R’ written on it.

The text above the picture read Tu Jaanta Nahi Mera Baap Kaun Hai (you don't’ know who my father is.)

Is this Taneja’s only tweet on the Supreme Court?

No. In yet another tweet dated 11 November, Taneja had shared an image that looks like the Supreme Court of India, except with a saffron flag at its top. The text above the image read “Sanghi Court of India.”

Moreover, the caption shared with this tweet read “Arnab gets bail, real journalists get jail, independent judiciary is fail.”

Another tweet posted by Taneja on 7 August carried a caricature of two men, in which  one character, holding a document with the text ‘Ayodhya Verdict – CJI Gogoi’, can be seen saying ‘Here you go... pleasure doing business with you!”

The second character, to whom no identity has been ascribed, can be seen holding a chair with the words ‘Rajya Sabha Seat’ written on it.

What did AG Venugopal say?

Commenting on Taneja’s post with the caption Tu Jaanta Nahi Mera Baap Kaun Hai, AG Venugopal said that that the post seems to suggest that the BJP has an interest in protecting Goswami, and has somehow managed to prevail on the Supreme Court to ensure the same.

"“If the first tweet depicting Arnab Goswami with the Supreme Court of India and Bharatiya Janata Party by his side and with Arnab mouthing the words ‘Tu jaanta nahi 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.”" - KK Venugopal, Attorney General of India.

Referring to Taneja’s ‘Sanghi Court of India’ cartoon, Venugopal said that the tweet seems to suggest that the highest judiciary in India has ceased to perform its role as an impartial organ of the state.

"The tweet is clearly calculated to undermine the public confidence in the independence and impartiality of the Supreme Court of India,” he said.

Also Read: Kaafi Real: Contempt of Court Amid Freedom of Speech & Expression

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