Attorney General of India, KK Venugopal has granted consent to initiate Contempt Of Court proceedings against comic artist Richa Taneja for criticising the Supreme Court through her illustrations.
Taneja drew a caricature on the Supreme Court granting interim bail to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, who was arrested in a 2018 abetment to suicide case. The cartoon depicted the BJP, the Supreme Court, and a reporter (assumed to be Arnab Goswami) with the text "Tu Janta Nahi Mera Baap Kaun Hai" (you don't know who my father is).
In his letter granting consent, Venugopal said the illustration in question was a 'gross insinuation' against the top Court of the country and 'audacious assault and insult to the institution', Bar and Bench reported. Besides, Taneja's tweets portray that the 'Supreme Court of India was biased towards the ruling party', he added.
The Attorney General's approval came in response to the appeal from a law student, Aditya Kashyap for contempt proceedings to be initiated against Taneja. Kashyap, in his letter, said that Taneja's tweets scandalizes the Hon'ble Supreme Court, insinuates and attributes motives behind judgments of the Court, and are based on distorted facts inspired by malice.
"The line between humour and contempt of the Court has also been violated. These posts not only erode the trust in the institution of justice by casting aspersions on the justice delivery mechanism but also interferes with the administration of justice. These amount to committing 'criminal contempt'."
Kashyap also highlighted Taneja's August 7 tweet, which talked about the Ayodhya judgment. "Let's not forget how we got here," the caption read, along with a caricature depicting a favoured relationship between the judiciary (especially, retd. Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi) and the Central government in delivering the Ayodhya Judgment, according to the media reports.
Among other illustrations, the AG also flagged the picture of the apex Court with a saffron flag on its top and engraved "SANGHI COURT OF INDIA". "Arnab gets bail, real journalists get jail, an independent judiciary is a fail," the caption read.