The plea for seeking the initiation of criminal contempt of court proceedings against actress Swara Bhasker for her comments at the Mumbai Collective panel was declined by Attorney General K.K Venugopal who called it as ‘part of the speaker’s perception’ and not amounting to any contempt of court
By Our Correspondent
Attorney General K.K Venugopal, on Sunday (23 August) refused to accept the petition filed by Usha Shetty’s seeking criminal contempt proceedings against actor Swara Bhasker for her comments at a panel discussion which in February this year. Shetty had accused the Flesh (2020) actress for her allegedly derogatory comments against the Supreme Court on the Ayodhya land dispute verdict.
But Venugopal has stated that the comments were a part of the speaker’s perception. “The comment refers to the judgment of the Supreme Court, and is not an attack on the institution. This does to offer any comment on the Supreme Court itself or say anything that would scandalise or tend to scandalise, or lower or tend to lower the authority of the Court. In my opinion, this statement does not constitute criminal contempt,” stated the AG.
Under the Contempt of Court Act, 1971, consent of the AG or the solicitor general is needed to initiate contempt proceedings against anyone. As reported by the Times of India, the AG has claimed, “I declined consent as there is no attack on the Supreme Court. It is mere innuendo. Initiating contempt proceedings would mean giving more credence to her statement, which is not needed.”
The petitioner has now approached the Solicitor-General, Tushar Mehta for permission, asserting that she differs with reasoning given by AG Venugopal. In a letter to the Solicitor General, Shetty wrote, “The petitioner herein respectfully differs with the reasons given by the Hon’ble Attorney General of Indiia, Thus it is most respectfully prayed to provide your kind consent in initiating criminal proceedings against Ms Swara Bhasker.”
Beyond Bollywood tried contacting the actress but to no avail.
Swara, speaking at a panel discussion held by Mumbai Collective, had stated, “We live in a country where our Supreme Court, in one judgment says the demolition of Babri Masjid was unlawful alongside rewarding the people who did the same. We are now in a situation where our courts are not sure whether they believe in the constitution or not…What then do we do and it seems to me that as everyone has said that the path is clear to us and it has been shown to us by you all whoever of you all have been part of the protest by the students by the women and by the citizen protesters it is to resist”
Shetty had filed the petition through Advocates Anuj Saxena, Prakash Sharma, and Mahek Maheshwari wherein she claimed that these comments were ‘a cheap stunt of publicity’ and was deliberately made to incite the masses to ‘resist and revolt against the apex court’.