On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a contempt notice to Maharashtra Assembly Secretary for writing a letter to Arnab Goswami, the Republic TV editor, and for breaching the confidentiality of the proceedings of the House by approaching the Apex Court against the breach of privilege notice on October 13.
The SC even asked the Maharashtra assembly secretary to remain present during the letter hearing scheduled after two weeks. Till then, the apex court has shielded Goswami from any further arrest in the privilege matter. The Chief Justice of India SA Bobde headed the bench and Arvind Datar- a senior advocate, was appointed as the amicus to assist in the matter.
According to the SC, the letter seriously interferes with the administration of justice as it intimidates Goswami for approaching the Court. Along with the Chief Justice and Datar, the bench also comprises of Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian who termed the letter by the assembly secretary as ‘unprecedented and shocking’.
The bench stated that the author’s (here the Maharashtra Assembly Secretary) intention through the letter was to “intimidate the petitioner” because he approached the Court and also to “threaten” him with a penalty for doing so. The Court added, “The assembly should be well advised to understand that the right to approach this Court under Art 32 of Constitution is itself a fundamental right.”
SC has also issued a notice to Attorney General KK Venugopal to assist in this matter. It was Goswami’s lawyer Harish Salve, who produced the October 13 letter and also submitted an application with an affidavit by the journalist’s wife, as Goswami was in jail.
The 47-year-old journalist was arrested on Wednesday from his Mumbai house and then was taken to Alibag in connection with a 2018 case of abetment to suicide. Anvay Naika, a designer and his mother Kumud Naik, died by suicide and named the journalist as one of the three people who didn’t pay dues amounting to Rs 5.4 crore.
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