SC warns Maha Assembly Secy of contempt over letter to Arnab

Published: Nov 6, 2020, 5:04 pm IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Secretary to show cause in two weeks why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him for his October 13 letter to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami over showing the Assembly notice issued to him to the apex court.

The top court also granted protection from arrest to Goswami in breach of privilege motion case.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, pulling up the Assembly Secretary, said every citizen has right under Article 32 of the Constitution to approach the Supreme Court directly and because Goswami came to the Supreme Court, he cannot be threatened in this manner.

Terming the letter to Goswami “threatening” and “intimidating”, Chief Justice Bobde said: “How dare he do this?”

Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing Goswami, said his client is in jail and he is being threatened. “Case after case after case is being filed against this man. At times, constitutional courts have to see the reality and not just the smokescreen,” he submitted.

The Chief Justice said there is no doubt that if a citizen is deterred from approaching Supreme Court in exercise of his right under Article 32, it would amount to a serious interference in administration of justice. “No authority in the country can penalise someone for approaching this court. This is in teeth of Article 32. How dare this officer wrote something like this in his letter,” he asked.

Chief Justice Bobde emphasised that this is a serious matter. “The statements are unprecedented and have a tendency to bring the administration of justice into disrepute,” he said.

The bench observed that although Assembly Secretary has been served with a notice, but he hasn’t entered appearance so far in the court, instead, had issued a letter to the petitioner (Goswami). After a detailed hearing in the matter, the bench said show cause notice of contempt be issued to the Assembly Secretary.

The remarks from the Chief Justice came while hearing a plea by Goswami challenging the show cause notice issued by the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for initiation of breach of privilege motion against him for the reporting in connection with case of death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

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