Supreme Court questions Maha Government

News Desk: In an extraordinary development, while hearing a petition on the breach of privilege motion initiated against Arnab Goswami,  the Supreme Court lashed out at the attempt to interfere in the course of administration of justice, and issued a show cause notice to the Secretary of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, after it came to light that he sent a  letter to Republic Media Network’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami saying approaching the Supreme Court was ‘breach of confidentiality’ and ‘amounts to contempt.’

The Supreme Court, dismayed by the 13th October letter by Secretary of Maharashtra Legislative to Arnab Goswami which says that action of disclosing it amounts to contempt, gave two-weeks time to show cause as to why contempt should not be issued against him in terms of Article 129 of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court granted Arnab Goswami protection from arrest in terms of the proceedings of the breach of privilege motion, with Senior Advocate Harish Salve arguing the case for Arnab. Taking note of the seriousness of the matter,  Senior Counsel  Arvind Datar, was appointed as  Amicus Curiae to assist the Court in the present matter.

“I will show my lords something today which will grant Arnab relief,” Salve said, reading out the letter by the Secretary of the Assembly, reacting to which the Chief Justice asked, “What is this'”  Lashing out at the nature of the letter,  the CJI said ‘How dare he say this, what is Article 32 for” adding ‘We have a serious question on the author of this letter and we find it extremely difficult to overlook this.’

Reacting strongly, the order passed by the Supreme Court said, ‘The intention of the author of the said letter viz., Mr. Vilas Athawale, Assistant Secretary, Maharashtra Vidhan Mandal 3 Sachivalaya, seems to be to intimidate the petitioner because the petitioner approached this Court and to threaten him with a penalty for seeking legal remedy’

While hearing a case, the Supreme Court bench said,  ‘The intention of the author of the letter seems to be to to threaten the petitioner with a penalty for approaching the court’

The apex court took a stand for citizens while hearing the breach of privilege case. It said ‘There is no doubt that if a citizen of India is deterred in any case from approaching this Court in exercise of his right under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, it would amount to a serious and direct interference in the administration of justice in the country.’

The 60-page privilege notice against Arnab Goswami was sent after privilege motions were moved against him by Shiv Sena MLAs in both houses in Maharashtra. The notice said that Arnab Goswami had breached the privileges of the Legislative Assembly of Maharashtra alleging that he had passed derogatory remarks against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, and has threatened to jail him if he does not apologise. Giving the Maharashtra Assembly Secretary two weeks notice to show cause as to why contempt should not be issued against him in terms of Article 129 of the Constitution of India, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said that in the meanwhile, “petitioner (Arnab Goswami) will not be arrested in pursuance of the present proceedings.”

“Cases after cases” were being filed against Arnab Goswami, Harish Salve had argued, pressing for interim relief saying “Constitutional courts have to see the reality, not the smoke screen”.

In response to the privilege motion moved against him, Arnab Goswami had released a statement. He said that Maharashtra assembly has sent him a notice threatening to jail him, but he will continue to question Uddhav Thackeray and elected representatives. He added that he has decided to contest the notice.