Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra on Friday told the Supreme Court that to suggest that his tweets/jokes criticising the Supreme Court could shake the foundations of the most powerful court in the world, was an over-estimation of his abilities.
Kamra added he believed there is no “need of defence for jokes. Jokes are not reality and don’t claim to be so.”
“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 life of a joke must end”, Kamra said in his affidavit.
He further submitted that “To believe any institution of power in a democracy is beyond criticism is like saying migrants need to find their way back home during an ill-planned, nationwide lockdown: it is irrational and undemocratic”.
Referring to the arrest of comedian Munawar Farooqui, Kamra said “We are witnessing an assault on the freedom of speech and expression, with comedians like Munawar Farooqui being in jailed for jokes that they have not even made, and school students being interrogated for sedition”.
“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,” comedian Kunal Kamra told the top court.
If the court feels, Kamra said, that he crossed a line and wants to shut down his internet indefinitely, then he too will write “Happy Independence Day postcard every 15th Aug just like his Kashmiri friends”.
Kamra’s affidavit was filed in response to a court notice to him asking him to explain why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him for their posts about the Supreme Court and its judges.
Earlier the Attorney General had consented to initiate contempt proceedings for a slew of tweets ‘scandalising’ the judiciary.
Kamra had tweeted that the Supreme Court was the “most supreme joke” in the country, after which he posted a photoshopped photo of the Supreme Court bathed in saffron colours with a flag of the BJP hoisted on it. After a few days, he posted another tweet showing his middle finger to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde.
Cartoonist Rachita Taneja also got a contempt notice for her tweet on the Supreme Court granting bail to Arnab Goswami.
Read the affidavit here.