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Varanasi Court Upholds Dismissal of Criminal Complaint Against Kunal Kamra for Tweet

The court agreed with a lower court's order which dismissed the complaint because the alleged offence – of insulting the national flag – was not committed in its jurisdiction.

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New Delhi: A Varanasi court on Thursday dismissed a criminal revision plea filed by a local lawyers challenging a magistrate’s order dismissing his criminal complaint against stand up comedian Kunal Kamra for an image he tweeted, which the lawyer said insulted the Indian flag.

Kamra had tweeted a picture of the Supreme Court in which the tricolour atop the court’s building was replaced with the BJP’s flag. While lawyer Saurabh Tiwari had filed a criminal complaint against Kamra, the magistrate had dismissed it because the alleged offence did not occur within his court’s jurisdiction.

According to LiveLaw, after hearing the petition and the exchange of pleadings, additional district judge of Fast Track Court-2 in Varanasi Aradhana Kushwaha rejected Tiwari’s plea and upheld the magistrate’s order.

The website reported that in December 2020, the court of judicial magistrate Diwakar Kumar had dismissed the lawyer’s complaint as the alleged offence was not committed within its local jurisdiction.

“After taking into consideration of the whole facts and circumstances of the case this Court is of the view that alleged offence does not appear to have been committed within the jurisdiction of this court. In such circumstances above application U/s 156(3) Cr.P.C. deserves to be dismissed,” the magistrate had said.

Additional district judge Kushwaha noted that the judicial magistrate’s decision was in “conformity with jurisdictional principles of law and was proper in view of the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code and the IT Act”.

She added that since a contempt plea has already been filed before the Supreme Court, pursuant to the consent granted by the attorney general for India K.K. Venugopal, it would “serve no purpose for conducting a trial in the district court against him”, according to LiveLaw.

If Tiwari wishes to become a party in the contempt proceedings in the apex court, he can present an application before the Supreme Court, Kushwaha said, and dismissed the criminal revision plea.

Kamra’s tweets

The comedian had posted a series of tweets in November 2020 that were critical of the Supreme Court after it granted bail to Republic TV founder Arnab Goswami, who was arrested in an abetment to suicide case. While one of the tweets said, “The Supreme Court of this country is the most Supreme joke of this country…”, another had a picture of the Supreme Court building in saffron colour with the BJP flag flying atop it.

Attorney general Venugopal granted his consent for contempt proceedings, saying, “I believe it is time people understand that attacking the Supreme Court of India unjustifiedly and brazenly will attract punishment under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.”

Kamra is also facing contempt proceedings for another tweet, also in November last year, in which he posted a picture of his index and middle finger against an airplane window with the caption: “One of these 2 fingers is for CJI Arvind Bobde… ok let me not confuse you it’s the middle one.”