‘Will write Aug 15 post cards like my Kashmiri friends’: Comedian Kunal Kamra in SC
Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra defended in the Supreme Court on Friday his tweets against the judiciary, saying if the court believes he has crossed the line and wants to shut down his internet indefinitely, “then he too will write Happy Independence Day post cards every August 15, just like my Kashmiri friends”.
He said irreverence and hyperbole are essential tools for the comedic enterprise and a comic raises questions on issues of public interest in his own unique way.
“We would be reduced to a country of incarcerated artists and flourishing lapdogs if powerful people and institutions continue to show an inability to tolerate rebuke or criticism,” he said.
Kamra, who filed his reply affidavit in a plea seeking contempt action against him for the alleged scandalous tweets said, “I may disagree with many decisions by many courts in many matters, but I promise this bench that I will respect any decision that comes my way with a broad smile. I will not vilify this bench or the Supreme Court in this matter specifically because that would actually be contempt of court.”
“Should powerful people and institutions continue to show an inability to tolerate rebuke or criticism, we would be reduced to a country of incarcerated artists and flourishing lapdogs. 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 post cards every 15th August, just like my Kashmiri friends,” he said.
The comedian said that he believes that there is growing culture in 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.
“We are witnessing an assault on the freedom of speech and expression, with comedians like Munawar Farooqi being jailed for jokes that they have not been made, and school students being interrogated for sedition. At such a time, I hope that this court will demonstrate that the freedom of speech and expression is cardinal constitutional value, and recognise that the possibility of being offended is a necessary incident to the exercise of this right, he said. The Language and style I resort to are not with the intention to insult, but to draw attention to and prompt an engagement with issues that I believe are relevant to our democracy and which have also been raised in the public domain by more serious and learned commentators,” he said.