Mumbai: The Maharashtra legislative assembly’s privilege committee has served summons on Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami to appear before it on Wednesday to record his statement.
Shiv Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik had, in September last year, moved breach of privilege against Goswami, accusing him of having used ‘derogatory language’ and ‘making baseless remarks’ against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and NCP president Sharad Pawar, and ‘frequently insulting’ ministers and MPs during TV debates. The committee will record statements by Goswami and Sarnaik.
Legislature Secretariat sources told The Free Press Journal, “Goswami has skipped three hearings despite sending him notices in advance and, therefore, the committee has finally served summons on him for his appearance on Wednesday at 5pm.’’
Goswami had subsequently challenged the breach-of-privilege notice in the Supreme Court. Thereafter, the apex court had issued a contempt notice to the assistant secretary of the assembly who had, in a letter, questioned Goswami for approaching the top court against the notice and producing before it ‘confidential’ communications from the Speaker and the House Privileges Committee.
The Supreme Court had said that it might be “necessary in all probability to serve the Speaker”, to know his version in matter.
Thereafter, former Speaker Nana Patole had moved the motion in the state assembly. Patole, cited article 194 of the Constitution, which lays down the powers and privileges of the Houses of Legislatures and article 212, which pertains to courts not inquiring into proceedings of the legislature.
Further, the state legislative council chairman, Ramraje Nimbalkar, in another breach-of privilege matter had ruled that that if Goswami challenged the breach-of-privilege proceedings in the high court or Supreme Court through a writ petition, then the Legislative Council Chairman, the chief of the privilege committee of Legislative Council, members of the House, secretaries and other officials should not respond to correspondence by the court and also should not appear in the high court and the Supreme Court.