Attorney General KK Venugopal has given consent to initiate contempt proceedings against cartoonist Rachita Taneja for her illustrations “against the Supreme Court” reported NDTV. The cartoonist, known for her ‘stick-figure’ style, makes and shares panel cartoons that often comment on social and political developments as they unfold.
— Sanitary Panels (@sanitarypanels) July 6, 2020
— Sanitary Panels (@sanitarypanels) November 17, 2020
Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones pic.twitter.com/DrEjRwIKzJ
— Sanitary Panels (@sanitarypanels) November 22, 2020
The panels are simple, the text lines brief and the overall effect is sharp witty, earning her a steady following on the internet. She uses the title ‘Sanitary Panels’ her pen name and her social media handle, that is better known than her own name. Recently she had tweeted a series of illustrations, after the Arban Goswami case.
According to news reports the Attorney General KK Venugopal has said the stick figure illustration was “gross insinuation” against the top court of the country and an “audacious assault and insult to the institution”. Rachita Taneja’s cartoon after the Supreme Court granted bail to Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami was seen long ago, but has gained major traction now that the government’s top law officer has given consent to initiate contempt proceedings after a law student filed the complaint.
The AG’s consent to initiate contempt proceedings against the cartoonist comes following his similar consent to start contempt proceedings against stand-up artist Kunal Kamra for his criticism of the Supreme Court. Kamra had also posted tweets critical of the Supreme Court decision granting interim bail to Arnab Goswami. Eight people wanted to sue Kamra for criminal contempt, reported NDTV. Kamra has refused to apologise for the tweets.
The AG had then stated, “Today people boldly and brazenly condemn the Supreme Court and its judges in what they believe is freedom of speech… It is time that people understand attacking the Supreme Court unjustifiably and brazenly will lead to punishment.” Social media users have come out in support of Taneja, and have begun sharing her work even more,
Attorney General has given consent to initiate contempt proceedings against cartoonist Rachita Taneja for her illustrations about the Supreme Court on Arnab Goswami case: NDTV
These are those two illustrations by @sanitarypanels. Don’t RT it pls pic.twitter.com/7CSAO5iRuc
— Ravi Nair (@t_d_h_nair) December 2, 2020
— Pen Pencil (@penpencildraw) December 1, 2020
In solidarity with @sanitarypanels ?
From Prashant Bhushan to Kunal Kamra and now Rachita Taneja: The charge of contempt of court has fallen upon senior lawyers, stand-up comedians and now a webcomic creator.#sanitarypanels #india #saveindia #supremecourtofindia #indian pic.twitter.com/L0SWeTThml
— PENCILASHAN (@pencilashan) December 2, 2020
It is important to recall that Attorney General KK Venugopal had refused to grant consent for contempt proceedings against Advocate Prashant Bhushan over his tweets against the Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde’s visit to Madhya Pradesh. The AG said that Prashant Bhushan had already expressed his regret for making the impugned remarks against CJI Bobde by stating on Twitter that it was incorrect on his part to say that the fate of the Government of Madhya Pradesh depended on the case pending before the Chief Justice of India. The AG said he was initially of the mind to grant the consent to initiate proceedings for criminal contempt but after Bhushan’s tweet expressing regret, the AG was of this view and said, “I do not think that it would be in the public interest to give consent for proceedings on the basis of the original tweet in view of the subsequent tweet expressing regret. I accordingly decline consent.”
Meanwhile, Rachita Taneja’s Sanitary Panels is also speaking up in support of the farmers protest:
— Sanitary Panels (@sanitarypanels) November 27, 2020
— Sanitary Panels (@sanitarypanels) November 26, 2020