Bengaluru: Even as officers of the Assembly secretariat set in motion the process of sending to local police a communication on the decision of awarding a one-year jail term to editors of two local newspapers, former Lokayukta, Mr Justice Santosh Hegde, said the controversial decision could be reviewed.
A day after the Legislative Assembly ratified recommendations of the privilege committee, handing out one year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10, 000 each, to editors of “Yelahanka Voice” and “Hai Bengaluru”, Secretary S Murthy said: "We will be sending a communication to the police for further action. The process regarding the same is underway.”
Speaker K.B. Koliwad defended the House’s action and said this could not be construed as an attempt to muzzle the press. “The media has no unfettered powers. They enjoy the same amount of freedom as any other citizen under Article 19. If the media writes about development, why would anybody clamp down on it. Ample opportunities were given to editors of these newspapers. Still, they did not change, so the privilege committee took this decision,” he said.
He said under Article 19/3. the state could frame rules to regulate the media on permissible grounds and the Ramesh Kumar committee was working on it.
Meanwhile, former SC judge Santosh Hegde told DC that any decision of the legislature or parliament could be reviewed by the HC or SC. “What they speak on the floor of the House can’t be reviewed. But the decisions can be reviewed through powers vested under Article 12 of the constitution,” he added.
He, however, said he would not speak about the merits of the two cases in which jail terms were handed out. The privileges committee of the Assembly had recommended jail for Ravi Belagere and Anil Raju for allegedly publishing articles against legislators, including Mr Koliwad.
The article against Mr Koliwad was published in the September 2014 issue of ‘Hi Bangalore’. Former Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa had referred the issue to the committee after Mr Koliwad lodged a complaint against Mr Belagere. Congress and BJP MLAs, B.M. Nagaraju and S.R. Viswanath raised the issue in the House and recommended action against journalists. Mr Nagaraju alleged that Mr Belagare, in spite of being summoned by the committee, did not attend hearing....