Action taken report filed on sentencing of scribes

 Additional Chief Secretary to Home department Subhash Chandra on Wednesday submitted an action taken report to the Legislative Assembly secretariat on the issue of sentencing two journalists to one-year imprisonment for breach of privilege.

Assembly secretary (in-charge) S Murthy received the report, but he did not disclose its contents to the media. “The Home department has submitted the report as per the direction from the Speaker (K B Koliwad). It will be handed over to the Speaker soon after he arrives in Bengaluru. He will go through the report and take an appropriate decision,” he added.

Sources in the secretariat said the Home department has explained in detail the reasons for not arresting the journalists and promised to take action at the earliest. State police chief R K Dutta and Bengaluru City police commissioner Praveen Sood were present when Subhash Chandra submitted the report.

The Assembly recently adopted recommendations made by the Privileges Committee of the House, sentencing Ravi Belagere of “Hai Bengalur” and Anil Raj of “Yelahanka Voice” to one-year imprisonment with a fine of Rs 10,000.

The Speaker had subsequently directed the Home department to take action against them.

When contacted, Law Minister T B Jayachandra said the decision to adopt the resolution was taken by the legislature and the government cannot interfere in the matter. “Any further decision has to be taken only by the legislature,” he said.

Jayachandra called for a discussion among academicians and senior journalists to come out with the suggestions on how best the issue can be resolved.

AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal said it is not proper to infringe upon the freedom of press. “The party has always been with journalists. Chief minister will take an appropriate decision in this regard,” he told reporters who sought his reaction on the issue.

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