SC questions growing criticism of courts

Chennai: Criticism of courts is ‘growing and everybody is doing it’, the Supreme Court said while giving three weeks to comic artist Rachita Taneja to file her reply on a plea seeking contempt action for her allegedly objectionable tweets against the judiciary.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan was told by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Rachita Taneja, that criticism of court can never be contempt.

“The foundation of court is much stronger,” Rohatgi told the bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah.

“We agree with you. But it is growing and everybody is doing it,” the bench observed.

To this, Rohatgi said, “Criticism of court can never be contempt. She (Taneja) is a young girl of 25 years. There is a public perception why the case of a journalist was taken up for hearing during court’s vacation”.

The bench asked Rohatgi that if he wanted to file a reply to the petition, he could do it otherwise the court will proceed in the matter.

“If you don’t want to file reply, we will proceed. It is better if you file a reply,” the bench said. Rohatgi sought three weeks to file the reply.

“Mukul Rohatgi, senior counsel appearing for the respondent prays for and is allowed three weeks’ time to file affidavit. List the matter after three weeks,” the bench said in its order.

The top court also heard separate pleas seeking contempt action against stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra for his alleged scandalous tweets against the top court.

The bench, which posted the pleas for hearing after two weeks, was informed by advocate Nishant R Kanteshwarkar, appearing for some petitioners, that Kamra has filed his reply and the matter be listed on non-miscellaneous day after two weeks.