A single-Judge bench of Karnataka High Court Thursday sought suggestions from the Assembly Speaker and chairman of the privileges committee of the legislature to sort out the controversy over the order to arrest two journalists “in the interest of the system”.
Justice Ashok Hinchigeri made the suggestion while hearing a joint plea filed by the journalists — Ravi Belagere, editor of weekly tabloid Hi Bangalore, and Anil Raj, editor of local publication Yelahanka Voice. The two have moved the court against the arrest order. The court will hear the matter next on June 30.
On June 21, Speaker K B Koliwad had ordered imprisonment of the duo for one year each, along with a fine of Rs 10,000 each, for breach of privilege.
The committee recommended their arrest on the basis of privileges and powers granted under Section 105 and 194 of the Constitution, and the Karnataka Assembly’s rules and procedures.
Belagere has questioned the arrest order on the grounds that the complaint against him was brought by Koliwad, a Congress MLA, and was probed by a privilege committee headed by the MLA himself. The final punishment was ordered again by the MLA in his present role as Speaker.
Anil Raj’s counsel argued that his imprisonment was ordered despite the fact that he had appeared before the privileges committee to tender an unconditional apology to BJP MLA S R Vishwanath, who had filed the breach of privilege complaint against the journalist.