The Maharashtra Assembly Assistant Secretary, who is facing contempt proceedings for threatening Arnab Goswami for approaching the Supreme Court over the breach of privilege proceedings against the Republic TV Editor-in-chief, on Tuesday said that the contentious letter was issued at the instance of the Speaker.
Responding to show-cause notice of contempt, #Maharashtra assembly assistant secretary tells the #SupremeCourt that the contentious letter to #ArnabGoswami was issued at the instance of the Speaker.— Utkarsh Anand (@utkarsh_aanand) November 24, 2020
Representing Goswami,Harish Salve pleads a notice should be issued to Speaker too
On behalf of the Maharashtra Assembly Secretary, senior advocate Dushyant Dave argued before the bench of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice of India that no contempt was made out as there was no attempt to obstruct the administration of justice in issuing a letter to Arnab.
Senior Advocate Harish Salve, representing Arnab Goswami, asked the apex court to issue a notice to the Speaker.
However, Dave opposed Salve’s submission while the Amicus Curiae Arvind Datar contended that the Speaker should be issued a notice as the Maharashtra Assembly Assistant Secretary was only acting on behalf of the Speaker.
“We don’t want the Speaker to say that he was not served,” said the CJI and adjourned the hearing for two weeks.
Supreme Court issued a contempt notice to Maharashtra Assembly Assistant Secretary
The Supreme Court, on November 6, much to the chagrin of the Maharashtra government, had issued a notice to Secretary of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly to appear before the top court and show cause as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him for the threatening letter authored by him to Republic TV Arnab Goswami.
“How can someone be threatened like this? How can someone be stopped from approaching a court by extending him threats like this? We are only concerned about access to this court. You cannot threaten people indirectly in this manner by saying how can you produce this in court. Who are these people? We want an independent counsel who will assist us in this matter,” Chief Justice SA Bobde had said then.
An enraged CJI questioned the authority in the country who can penalise someone for moving the Supreme Court. CJI Bobde asserted that the letter was in the teeth of Article 32, stating that it’s “extremely difficult” for them to overlook this letter.
The bench had then appointed senior advocate Arvind Datar as amicus curiae and posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.
CJI Bobde also observed that the letter amounted to direct interference in the administration of justice. The intention of the author of the letter seems to be to intimidate the petitioner because he approached this court and to threaten him with a penalty for doing so.
Maharashtra Assembly issued summons to Arnab Goswami asking him to appear
Continuing their witch-hunt against Arnab Goswami, Maharashtra govt headed by Shiv Sena had used all its political might to harass Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami. The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly had served four notices to Goswami and asked him to reach the assembly after he had criticised the Maha Vikas Aghadi government over its inaction in the Sushant Singh Rajput case.
On October 15 at 14:50, Arnab Goswami had got a notice from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly asking him to appear, in person, at 15:00 hours. Essentially, the state government gave Arnab Goswami merely 10 minutes to make a personal appearance in the Assembly, saying that if he does not, action could be initiated against him.
The Maharashtra legislature secretariat had earlier sought clarification from Arnab Goswami on September 16 over a breach of privilege motion against him during a two-day monsoon session of the state legislature for the alleged derogatory comments against Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar.