A law student, after obtaining the consent of Attorney General KK Venugopal, has approached the Supreme Court with a petition for initiating criminal contempt proceedings against comic artist Rachita Taneja for her alleged tweets against the apex court.
The petition, filed on Saturday, is for initiation of proceedings against Rachita Taneja over three of her posts with images which are allegedly “outrageous, contemptuous, carry insinuations and deliberately attribute motives to judges of Supreme Court and their judgments”.
The contempt petition has been filed by law student Aditya Kashyap through advocate Namit Saxena.
According to Aditya Kashyap’s petition, Rachita Taneja’s posts have gone viral, have been widely shared and subscribed by people attacking the institution of judiciary.
Taneja, being a social media influencer, has thousands of followers across various platforms, the petition said.
Namit Saxena, an advocate-on-record (AoR), said that the Attorney General KK Venugopal, in his written consent to initiate criminal contempt proceedings, had stated that these posts are intended to denigrate the Supreme Court and lower its authority in the eyes of the public, and thus the cartoons were in contempt of the top court.
The consent of either the Attorney General or the Solicitor General is necessary, under section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, for initiating contempt proceedings against a person.
Criminal contempt of the Supreme Court is punishable with fine up to Rs 2,000 and imprisonment up to six months.
Recently, the Supreme Court had found lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court for posting two tweets and fined him Rs 1 for it.
Venugopal, in his consent letter to Kashyap for initiating criminal contempt proceedings against Taneja, said, “I am satisfied that each one of the tweets with the cartoons attached to them is in contempt of the Supreme Court of India, and hence I give my consent to initiate proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 in regard to each one of the tweets.”
In the petition, details of the three posts and images which are allegedly derogatory and contemptuous have been mentioned.
The plea has sought direction that Taneja be restrained from publishing contemptuous posts on social media which scandalise and undermine the authority of the apex court.
The petitioner said the plea highlight three particularly outrageous and contemptuous posts that were crafted, posted and shared by Taneja through her social media handles (@sanitarypanels) on various platforms with the malicious intent of scandalising and lowering the authority of the apex court and to prejudice and interfere with the due course of judicial proceedings.
Kashyap is pursuing LLB at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law in Patiala, Punjab.
(With PTI inputs)