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The Attorney General of India has refused to give permission to an advocate to file a contempt plea against actor Swara Bhasker for her comments on the Supreme Court's verdict in the Babri Masjid and Ayodhya land dispute case.
The actor's comments were described as "derogatory", "scandalous" and an "attack on the institution" by the petitioner.
Attorney General KK Venugopal said that the comment was the "perception of the speaker" and did not "offer any comment on the Supreme Court itself or say anything that would scandalise or tend to scandalise... the authority of the Supreme Court".
"In my opinion, this statement does not constitute criminal contempt," the Attorney General observed.
The statement by the actor made at an event in Mumbai read: "We are living in a country where the Supreme Court states that the demolition of the Babri Masjid was unlawful and, in the same judgment, rewards the same people who brought down the mosque".
Last year in November, the Supreme Court had stated that the disputed land in Ayodhya belonged to Lord Ram. The court also said that the demolition of the 16th century Babri Masjid in December 1992 was unlawful and a "calculated act of destroying a place of public worship".
The second comment made by the actor said that "we are ruled by a government that doesn't believe in our Constitution... we are ruled by police forces that do not believe in the Constitution... it seems we are now in a situation where our courts are not sure whether they believe in the Constitution..."
The comment has been seen as a reference to protests led by women in Delhi's Shaheen Bagh against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The Attorney General's denial to proceed with a criminal contempt case against the actor comes days after lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan was held guilty of the same charge, where the court had claimed that Bhushan had crossed the line in making comments about the judiciary.
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