Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami was served a notice on Friday by the Maharashtra Assembly to appear before it in ’10 minutes’ in regard to a motion for breach of privilege that was moved in the Assembly against him on September 8. This is reportedly the fourth notice Arnab has been served by the Maharashtra Assembly. The notice was reportedly issued at 2.50 pm.
Republic TV has said that it will approach the courts in the matter. Speaking on the notice, Arnab said, “We are getting notice after notice from the Maharashtra Assembly, but they are not accepting our replies - which is patently illegal, unconstitutional. The purpose of the Maharashtra Assembly is to serve the people of Maharashtra and not use interlopers to fix Republic.”
The channel has moved the Supreme Court and has challenged the breach of privilege motion. It has argued that the Assembly cannot use its privileges against someone outside the House. Arnab has not “hindered the working of the house”, the channel adds in its argument, and argues that the Assembly’s actions exceed its privilege.
The 60-page notice against Goswami was sent after motions were moved against him by the Shiv Sena in both the Houses of the Maharashtra Assembly. On Tuesday, the Maharashtra Legislature secretariat had issued another notice Arnab for breach of privilege for submitting a copy of the proceedings of the Assembly in the Supreme Court without the Speaker's permission.
The notice was served on October 13 and a written clarification has been sought from Goswami by October 15, the secretariat said in a statement on Wednesday. The legislature secretariat had earlier sought a clarification from Goswami on September 16 over a breach of privilege motion against him during a two-day monsoon session of the state legislature.
The motion had been tabled by Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, taking exception to the way Goswami referred to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and other ministers during his coverage of Sushant Singh Rajput death case. As no response came by deadline of October 5, a reminder was sent to him seeking response to that notice by October 20.
Copy of the proceedings of the house was also sent to him and he was told that the details cannot be used without the permission of the Assembly speaker.
But Arnab, when he moved the Supreme Court against this notice, also submitted the copy of house proceedings in the apex court, which was a deliberate violation of the legislature's privileges and powers of the Assembly speaker, the statement said.
However, the Supreme Court on Monday observed that it can entertain Arnab's plea challenging the show cause notice issued by Maharashtra Assembly for initiation of breach of privilege motion against him for the reportage on actor Sushant Singh Rajput death case, only after any action has been taken. The top court said as per its understanding the plea could be entertained only if there is any action on the recommendation of the privilege committee of the house pursuant to the show cause notice issued to Goswami.