In Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh, a legal showdown looms as a court prepares to deliver its verdict on February 27 in a criminal complaint against comedian Kunal Kamra. The case revolves around allegations that Kamra insulted the Indian flag by sharing a morphed image of the Supreme Court adorned with a political party’s flag.
The complaint, lodged by Advocate Saurabh Tiwari in 2022, accuses Kamra of deliberately disrespecting the Indian National Flag by replacing it with the flag of a National Political Party (BJP).
This legal saga traces back to April 2022 when the Allahabad High Court declined to intervene in a plea challenging a magistrate court’s decision from December 2020. The magistrate court had dismissed Tiwari’s application under Section 156(3) CrPC, prompting the High Court to suggest exploring alternative remedies under Section 200 of CrPC.
Following this, Tiwari pursued the matter before a Court of Judicial Magistrate in Varanasi, seeking the invocation of various sections of the Prevention Of Insults To National Honour Act and the IT (Amendment) Act, 2008, against Kamra. The complaint seeks to summon Kamra and initiate trial proceedings against him.
In December 2020, the Supreme Court had issued a notice to Kamra in response to petitions seeking criminal contempt action against him for tweets criticizing the top court and judges. Kamra had posted these tweets following the Supreme Court’s decision to grant bail to Arnab Goswami. The Attorney General for India had condemned Kamra’s tweets as ‘highly objectionable,’ highlighting the severity of unjustifiably attacking the Supreme Court.
In defense, Kamra argued that his tweets were intended as jokes for those sharing his perspective. The legal proceedings have sparked debates on freedom of speech, the boundaries of criticism, and the sanctity of national symbols in India’s democratic framework.
As the court’s verdict approaches, its outcome will undoubtedly reverberate across legal and social spheres, shaping discussions on free expression and the accountability of public figures.