On Tuesday, both Houses of the Maharashtra State Legislature unanimously passed a resolution not to take cognisance of any notice or summons issued by the High Court or Supreme Court in the breach of privilege proceedings initiated against Arnab Goswami by the Upper House of the state Legislature.
According to reports, the pre-emptive resolution comes after Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami had moved to Supreme Court challenging the breach of privilege motion. The apex court had issued a show-cause notice against the Assistant Secretary of the Assembly, Vilas Athawale, for his attempt to ‘intimidate’ Goswami for taking the matter of privilege motion to the court.
The Maharashtra alliance government, anticipating an adverse order from the judiciary, has now passed the resolutions to question the boundaries of the judiciary’s powers to issue notices to the assembly. The proposals stated that replying to such notices would mean accepting that the judiciary can keep a check on the legislature and would be “inconsistent with the Basic Structure of the Constitution”.
The resolution were passed by both the houses on Tuesday, the last day of the winter sessions of Maharashtra assembly.
Both houses pass resolutions, says judiciary cant encroach into legislative territories
In the lower house, the proposal was declared as passed unanimously by Speaker Nana Patole. It stated that Speaker Patole and Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal will not be responding to any notice or summons issued by the Supreme Court. Similarly, in the Legislative Council, the proposal was passed unanimously by Chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar.
“The Constitution has set clear cut boundaries for the three organs of the government — the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. Each organ should honour these boundaries. No one should encroach on each other’s territories,” said Speaker Patole.
Meanwhile, Council chairman Nimbalkar said, “The legislature, secretariat, its secretaries and other officers responding to court notices and other correspondence means, in a way, accepting that the judiciary can keep a check on the legislature and it would be inconsistent with the Basic Structure of the Constitution”.
Maharashtra Assembly issued summons to Arnab Goswami asking him to appear
The witch-hunt against Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami began after a Breach of Privilege motion was moved in the Assembly by Shiv Sena’s Pratap Sarnaik on September 8. The Maharashtra government headed by Shiv Sena had used all its political might to harass Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami.
Pratap Sarnaik had accused Goswami of using “derogatory language” and “making baseless remarks” against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and NCP president Sharad Pawar and for frequently insulting ministers, MPs during TV debates.
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.
However, Arnab Goswami had challenged the notice served upon him by the state assembly for alleged breach of privilege in the apex court. The Supreme Court had the slammed the Maharashtra Assembly secretary for his letter to Arnab Goswami where he had questioned him on how did he produce the letters sent to him by the Speaker and Privilege Committee with the court since they are confidential in nature.