Maha State Assembly won't reply to court notices on privilege motion
(PTI Photo/Shashank Parade)

A face-off between the judiciary and legislature looks inevitable. In a path breaking move, the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution that the Speaker/Presiding Officers should not answer notices of court in connection with breach of privilege motion; nor should they present themselves before the court if summons are sent.The resolution was passed in a bid to maintain the independence and majesty of the state legislature. Assembly Speaker Nana Patole was in the chair when the resolution was passed on the concluding day of the two-day winter session on Tuesday.The trigger for the strongly worded resolution was a show cause notice issued by the Supreme Court in November to an assistant secretary of Maharashtra legislative assembly asking him to explain why contempt proceedings should be not initiated against him for his letter to journalist Arnab Goswami which seems to “intimidate” him for approaching the apex court on the issue of alleged breach of privilege motion.

The apex court had also directed that Goswami shall not be arrested in pursuance of the proceedings pending in the Maharashtra assembly for alleged breach of privilege motion. The apex court’s observation came after Goswami had filed a plea challenging the privilege motion and proceedings of the committee.

Patole told Free Press Journal, ''The issue was recently discussed at the recent Speakers’ conference. The assembly passed the resolution to protect the independence of the assembly/legislature and avoid encroachment from another institution.’’

The Supreme Court had termed the statements of the official in an October 13 letter sent to Goswami as unprecedented and said it tends to interfere in the course of administration of justice and is definitely a “serious matter” and “amounts to contempt”.

“We don’t see that any authority in the country can penalise anybody for coming to this court,’’ said Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, who was heading the bench also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

Meanwhile, the assembly passed a motion giving extension to the Privileges Committee to decide breach of privilege motion filed by Shiv Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik against Arnab Goswami and Kangana Renaut. This extension has been given till the last date of next assembly session which will begin on March 1 next year.

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Free Press Journal