Congress distances itself from Assembly resolution on breach of privilege

Action taken report submitted

A day ahead of the Karnataka High Court hearing on the issue, the Congress on Wednesday distanced itself from the Legislative Assembly’s resolution on imprisoning editors of two Kannada tabloids for a year besides slapping a fine of Rs. 10,000 for breach of privilege, a move which has sparked widespread criticism.

AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka, K.C. Venugopal, asked Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to take suitable action for withdrawal of the Assembly’s resolution. Decrying Speaker K.B. Koliwad’s action of moving such a resolution, Mr. Venugopal said the Chief Minister would hold discussions with the Speaker in this regard.

Speaking to reporters here, Mr. Venugopal said the Congress was against harassing journalists and stood for freedom of speech. It may be noted that the resolution was passed based on the recommendation of a Committee on Privileges for publishing alleged “defamatory and false” articles against three MLAs. A couple of days ago, Mr. Siddaramaiah had reportedly asked the police to defer the arrest of the two editors. He was forced to do so after pressure from the Editors’ Guild of India that had strongly condemned the Speaker’s decision.

Meanwhile, the Home Department on Wednesday submitted an action taken report on the issue to the Assembly Secretariat following the Speaker’s direction. The report is expected to have explained the reasons for failing to execute the Assembly’s order.

Additional Chief Secretary of the Home Department Subhash Chandra, DG-IGP R.K. Dutta, and Bengaluru city Police Commissioner Praveen Sood met Assembly Secretary (in-charge) S. Murthy and explained the steps taken by the department to execute orders for arresting the two journalists.

When contacted, Mr. Murthy refused to divulge the details and only said, “The report will be forwarded to the Speaker. Only he is empowered to decide the future course of action.”

The Assembly had passed the resolution against Ravi Belagere, editor of Hi Bangalore, and Anil Raj, editor and publisher of Yelahanka Voice, for breach of privilege, based on the complaint filed by Assembly members B.M. Nagaraj (Shiraguppa) and S.R. Vishwanath (Yealahnaka) respectively.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 1:27:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/congress-distances-itself-from-assembly-resolution-on-breach-of-privilege/article19166684.ece

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