Koliwad said that he would look into the petition and present it before the house.

Kannada journalists arrest row Scribes submit review petition to Speaker Koliwad
news Media Tuesday, July 04, 2017 - 10:03

Drama unfolded at the Vidhana Soudha on Monday evening as Kannada journalists Ravi Belagere and Anil Raj, who were sentenced to jail time and fined by the Assembly, appeared before the Speaker KB Koliwad to submit their review petition.

In the presence of heavy media coverage, an ailing Belagere was wheeled into the Vidhana Soudha by Anil Raj and their lawyer Shankarappa, who asked a review of the penal clauses of the one-year jail term and Rs 10,000 fine slapped on the journalists for “breach of privilege”.

Shankarappa told Speaker Koliwad that recommendations of the privilege committee were not applicable as the articles and defamatory material, perceived to be a breach of privilege by the assembly, were outside the legislature’s ambit.

“The legislators who complained against the two journalists to the assembly never faced any obstacles in discharging their duties as MLAs due to the articles written. According to the practices and procedures of ancient parliaments, such matters fall outside the purview of the legislature as they are not related to issues which occurred inside the legislature’s premises,” Shankarappa said.

Countering Shankarappa’s argument, Speaker Koliwad read out portions of the Practice and Procedure of Parliament by M N Kaul and S L Shakdher, which provide the legislature the power to indict those who are outside the house if they are found to have breached the members’ privilege.

Shankarappa went on to counter the argument by citing instances from Tamil Nadu, wherein the Madras High Court, in the case of S Balakrishnan vs state of Tamil Nadu in 1995, had fined the TN government for having passed a privilege motion against the aggrieved party despite it not being under its purview.

He said that MLA S R Vishwanath had already filed two private complaints with the ACMM court against Raj and this was not disclosed to either the Assembly or mentioned in the privilege committee report.

“This is double jeopardy as a case has already being filed with the ACMM court and a jail term has also been recommended on the same allegations made by the privilege committee. This has been brought to the high court’s notice,” Shankarappa told Koliwad.

 “We filed a review petition with the Assembly after the government gave an undertaking to the high court that the journalists will not be arrested until the Assembly reconsiders the previous resolution against them. There has been no breach of privilege under article 194 (3) of the Constitution in this case,” Shankarappa told the media.

Koliwad said that he would look into the petition and present it before the house.