After the Supreme Court served a showcause notice to the Secretary of the Maharashtra Assembly for his letter to television anchor Arnab Goswami purportedly objecting to disclosing House proceedings to the Supreme Court, a senior Assembly Secretariat official said there had been no violation of norms. “We have acted as per the laid procedures,” the official said, requesting that he not be identified.
On September 16, during a curtailed two-day monsoon session of the state legislature, the Assembly Secretariat had sought a written response from Goswami within a week over a breach of privilege motion against him.
Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik moved the breach of privilege taking objection to the manner in which Goswani referred to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and other ministers in his television programmes about actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.
As per norms, the state legislative Secretariat provided the proceedings of Assembly relating to breach of privilege motion, to enable him to prepare his defence, the official said.
However, the official said, it came to their notice that instead of responding to the breach of privilege motion, Goswami had tagged the Assembly proceedings to his petition in the Supreme Court against the motion.
As per process, Assembly proceedings are confidential, and the Speaker’s permission is necessary before using it in any matter, according to officials, who said Goswami had not obtained this permission.
On October 13, the state legislature Assembly Secretary served a second notice to Goswami, asking why he had submitted the Assembly proceedings in Supreme Court without permission of Assembly Speaker Nana Patole. Goswami was told to give in writing his explanation by October 16.
State legislature Assembly Secretary Rajendra Bhagwat refused to comment on the developments. Bhagwat said, “I am in Nagpur. I have come here along with my officers for a meeting to review the pre-winter session. I have not seen the SC notice and would not like to comment.”
Officials in the state legislature Secretariat indicated that Patole would be the appropriate authority to make an official statement on the matter. Patole was not available for comment.
However, a senior official associated with working of state legislature Assembly and Council said, “The notice sent to Goswami was confined only to asking him why he had tagged the Assembly proceedings to his petition. First notice was to get his response on breach of privilege. Second notice was why he submitted Assembly proceedings in SC without taking proper permission from Speaker.”
The Privileges Committee held its preliminary meeting on Thursday and discussed the matter. But there was no decision taken or order issued to arrest Goswami, said officials. Nor was he questioned for filing an appeal in SC.
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