Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reporters banned from House proceedings after publishing 'unparliamentary words'

RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh Assembly has cancelled the entry passes of Patrika reporters after it published certain words deleted from the House proceedings. In protest that it was not given time to reply, the newspaper has moved Bilaspur High Court that has sent a notice to the government.

On March 23, Agriculture Minister Chandrashekhar Sahu and Congress MLA Dharamjit Singh had an altercation in the Assembly. Speaker Dharamlal Kaushik ordered certain unparliamentary words used by the duo be expunged and prohibited for publication. Next day, however, Patrika published a detailed report of the altercation, which according to the Speaker mentioned the expunged words. Kaushik ordered cancellation of House entry passes of its reporters.

Claiming it to be a breach of House privilege, Kaushik told The Indian Express: "They published expunged words. The House has a right to take action. We referred the matter to Privilege Committee that cancelled their passes."

Comparing it with last year's instance when BJP men burned its copies, Patrika has termed it as yet another attack by the Raman Singh government on freedom of press. "They did not even send us a notice, no hearing was done. It is a rare instance. The Speaker did not even try to find out who was the reporter and imposed a blanket ban on our staff. We have sent a complaint to the Press Council of India," Patrika Deputy Editor Anand Joshi told The Indian Express.

Editor Giriraj Sharma said: "They have not even told us what were those unparliamentary words." Patrika claimed that it has sent an apology to the Speaker but of no avail. Kaushik denied this. "I have not received anything in writing." The HC will hear the case on April 4.

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