Mumbai, Nov 6:
The Supreme Court on Friday summoned Maharashtra Assembly Secretary for allegedly intimidating Republic TV Editor, Arnab Goswami which the court observed was done with the object of deterring Goswami from moving the SC and directed the Secretary to remain personally present for the next hearing.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde took strong exception to a letter purportedly written by the Secretary to Goswami on 13 October, in which Goswami was allegedly berated for producing before the SC, challenging the minutes of proceedings sent to him by the Speaker and Privileges Committee of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in relation to a breach of privilege motion.
CJ SA Bobde said that such attempts to prevent citizens from exercising their rights under Article 32 would amount to serious interference with the administration of justice. The Secretary has been asked to be personally present and explain why contempt of court action should not be initiated against him for the 13 October letter.
The Secretary in his letter to Goswami had stated that though he was informed that the proceedings relating to breach of privilege motion by Maharashtra Assembly against him were confidential, he had presented the same before SC.
Goswami had approached the court challenging the 16 September privilege motion sent to him by the Maharashtra Assembly for his criticism of the government’s alleged inaction in the Sushant Singh Rajput case. The 60-page privilege notice was sent to him after motions were moved against him in the both the houses of the Maharashtra Assembly.
A privilege motion can be moved if an individual or authority violates or disregards any of the privileges, powers, and immunities of the House concerned or members of the House or Committee. What amounts to breach of privilege or contempt is decided by the House, which also decides the punishment.
In his response to the notice, Goswami had released a statement on his channel, stating that he would continue to question Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and elected representatives, and that he has decided to contest the notice.