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SC stays Assembly’s privilege motion notice to Shobhaa De

Shobhaa-DeThe Supreme Court today stayed the breach of privilege motion notice issued against author Shobhaa De by Maharashtra Assembly Speaker for her tweets on the state government’s decision to make it mandatory for multiplexes to screen Marathi movies during prime time.

A bench of justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant also issued notice to the parties concerned and sought their response within eight weeks on the plea of De.

The socialite-columnist had moved the apex court against the notice issued by the Assembly Speaker following a complaint against her by a Shiv Sena law maker alleging that her series of tweets insulted Marathi language and Marathi speaking people.

Senior advocate C A Sundaram, appearing for De, said, “Comments were made against the decision of the government and it does not breach any privilege of the Assembly”.

He also said that the apex court in its various decisions has described the privileges of the Assembly and the writer has not breached any.

Earlier this month, Legislature Principal Secretary Anant Kalse had issued a notice to De asking her to explain her tweets about the decision to make it mandatory for multiplexes to screen Marathi movies during prime time.

The notice was issued after Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik moved a breach of privilege motion in the state assembly against De.

Reacting sharply to De’s comments, senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut had said that no Marathi person would tolerate such statements. “This is an insult of Marathi culture and we will give her a taste of Vada Paav and Dahi Misal by this evening. When you are so irked with Marathi cinema and culture, then why are you living here,” he said.

“Shobha De’s remarks are an insult to Maharashtra, Marathi language and culture. You are staying in Maharashtra, calling yourself a Maharashtrian and then speaking against Marathi films. I feel such people have no right to call themselves Maharashtrian… Why are you staying here, You can go and start your Page 3 culture wherever you want,” he said.

De, however, remained firm on her statement and said she was not worried by such remarks. “I am not at worried. I am very confident. And whatever is said … We will see,” she said, adding she had got support from all quarters. “I am completely overwhelmed by the support not just on the social media but everywhere,” she said.

The HC had also asked the petitioner to amend the PIL by challenging the rejection of these names by the Centre. Accordingly, the petition was amended and a copy handed over to the Centre on the last occasion.

The high court had admitted the petition earlier, saying the matter pertained to policy decision of the Union government and hence, needed to be argued thoroughly.

Tirodkar had filed a rejoinder, saying that even some of the officers injured during 26/11 attacks who figured in the list of the state for gallantry awards were not considered by the Centre for the honour.

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