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HC requests speaker to appear before court in Manjeet Singh's case

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, Apr 19 (UNI) Bombay High Court today requested Maharashtra Legislative Assembly speaker Babasaheb Kupekar to appear at the hearing of a petition filed by Manjeet Singh Sethi, challenging his sentence of 90 days imprisonment for breach of privilege of the House.

The court has also asked State Advocate General Ravi Kadam and senior counsel Rafiq Dada to be present at the hearing on April 21.

Arguing before a division bench comprising Justices D G Deshpande and V K Tahilramani, petitioner's counsel Satish Talekar contended that the members of the Assembly could not hold breach of privilege against him as he had not violated any rules of the House.

He cited an Apex Court Judgement in Mr Keshav Singh's case wherein the High Court had been granted the right to grant bail to an accused unless it found malafide intent in the accused's action.

Also, it was injustice to have the complainant, Mr Sudhir Mungantiwar, MLA from Chandrapur, on the Committee appointed by the Assembly that sentenced Mr Sethi to 90 days imprisonment.

He also contended that the alleged accusation of his statement published in a Marathi daily head lined, 'Wives of ministers shall not be allowed to move on streets', was false as the statement was not his, but a repetition of what the bar dancers had said at a meeting where he was only an invitee.

The petitioner's counsel also contended that Mr Sethi had not made the statements before the House and therefore they could not taken as breach of privelege and hence the State should withdraw the charge against him.

In fact, he alleged that the person who had misled the House was Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil himself as he had announced the decision to close down dance bars even before discussing the policy matter before the cabinet.


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