Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra replies to the SC, says, 'Jokes need no defence and are based on a comedian’s perception'
The comedian said that the phenomenon of “taking offence” to comedy or satire has been elevated to the status of a much-loved indoor sport in a growing culture of intolerance.
“I believe there is a growing culture of intolerance in this country, where taking offence is seen as a fundamental right and has been elevated to the status of a much loved national indoor sport.
“Comedians like Munawar Faruqui are jailed for jokes they did not make. School students are interrogated for sedition,” Kamra wrote in his affidavit.
He further said in a slight jab, "The suggestion that my tweets can shake the foundations of the most powerful Court of the world is an overestimation of my abilities. Just as the Supreme Court values the faith public places in it, it should also trust the public not to form its opinions of the court on the basis of a few jokes on Twitter.
"The public's faith in judiciary is founded on the institution's own actions and not on any criticism or commentary about it," he added.
He further said, “Jokes needed no defence. Jokes were based on a comedian’s perception. Most people do not react to jokes that do not make them laugh. They ignore them like our political leaders ignore their critics. That is where the life of a joke must end.”
“The more attention you paid to a joke, the more credible it became,” Kamra asserted.
In what came as more digs over the current reaction for his “jokes”, the comedian said, “To believe any institution of power in a democracy is beyond criticism is like saying migrants need to find their way back home during ill-planned, nationwide lockdown: it is irrational and undemocratic (sic),” said Kamra.
“I don't believe that any high authority, including judges, find themselves unable to discharge their duties only on account of being the subject of satire or comedy.”
Taking another jab at the Centre's manner of handling Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370, Kamra claimed, “If this Court believes I have crossed a line and wants to shut down my internet indefinitely, then I too will write Happy Independence Day postcards every 15th August, just like my Kashmiri friends.”
Kamra is facing contempt of court charges for making “derogatory comments” against the Supreme Court on Twitter over the granting of bail to Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami in an abetment to suicide case.