Scribes move HC against House resolution sentencing them to jail

Scribes move HC against House resolution sentencing them to jail

Two journalists, who have been sentenced to one year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000 each by the Legislative Assembly, have moved the High Court of Karnataka seeking quashing of the resolution adopted by the House.

Ravi Belagere, editor of the Kannada weekly ‘Hai Bengalur’ and Anil Raj, editor of Kannada monthly ‘Voice of Yelahanka’ have moved the high court.

The Assembly had adopted a resolution sentencing the two editors following a recommendation sent by the chairman of the Privileges Committee for breach of privelige. The chairman of the Privileges Committee acted upon a complaint by K B Koliwad, MLA of Ranebennur (who is now the Speaker) and S R Vishwanath, MLA of Yelahanka. The MLAs had raised objections to some of the articles published in ‘Hai Bengalur’  and ‘Voice of Yelahanka.’

Belagere has contended that he has not received any notice from the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and he has been sentenced without any enquiry or an opportunity to be heard. Anil Raj, for his part, tendered an unconditional apology to the Speaker.

The petitioners have contended that the resolution adopted by the Assembly is unconstitutional and must be considered illegal. The petitioners have said that as per the Supreme Court order, the Committee does not have any powers to pass order of conviction. There is no specific definition for breach of privileges under any law and there are no specific rules and act to pass order of conviction. The recommendation of the Committee for breach of privileges is against the principles of natural justice, they contended. The matter will come up for hearing in high court shortly.

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