New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday put on hold the privilege notice issued by the Maharashtra assembly to author Shobhaa De for criticising the state government's decision to screen Marathi films at multiplexes during prime time.
A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant also issued notice to the chairman, the Maharashtra legislature secretariat, its principal secretary and its Special Rights committee and Shiv Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik.
"As an interim measure, it is directed that there shall be stay of further proceedings in pursuance of the Notice issued on April 10, 2015, by the deputy secretary (law), Maharashtra Legislature Secretariat, Mumbai," said the court's order.
The Maharashtra state assembly issued a privilege notice to De on April 10 and she was required to reply to it by this Tuesday.
While criticising the Maharashtra government for its decision on screening Marathi films without consulting the stakeholders, De had tweeted that during the show at multiplexes, now one could expect vada-pao and misal-pao instead of popcorn.
De in four tweets had said: "Bollywood divided over compulsory prime time screening of of Marathi films in multiplexes", "No more pop corns in multiplexes in Mumbai? Dahi missal and vada pav only. To go better with the Marathi movies at prime time", "I love Marathi moves. Let me decide when and where to watch them, Devendra Fadnavis. This is nothing but Dadagiri", and "Devendra 'Diktatwala' Fadnavis is at it again !!! From beef to movies. This is notva Maharashtra we all love. Nako! Nako! Yeh sab rook!".
Describing the privilege notice as being "wholly unreasonable, arbitrary, irrational" and violative of the article 14 (equality before law), De in her petition has said that it infringed her rights under article 21 (Protection of life and personal liberty).
Referring to earlier apex court verdicts, she contended that privilege could only arise if there was any interference or attempt to interfere with the proceedings of the assembly.
Describing the privilege notice as "illegal, non est, bad in law", she said her comments in no way resulted in hindrance or obstruction in the functioning of the assembly.