The Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Tuesday rejected a motion seeking reconsideration of the Speaker’s decision to send two journalists to one year in jail for breach of privilege over alleged defamatory articles against legislators, PTI reported. The editors of Hi Bangalore and Yelahanka Voice – Ravi Belagere and Anil Raju – were sentenced in June for publishing alleged defamatory articles on two MLAs.
The Karnataka Assembly on Tuesday rejected the resolution by a voice vote. Some MLAs even argued that the punishment should be doubled, The Hindu reported. Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Vishwanath said Raju had continued to write similar articles against him despite a privilege motion moved against him.
Health Minister Ramesh Kumar said the editors in their reconsideration plea have questioned the wisdom of the members of the Assembly. “Looking at it, it deserves to be rejected,” Kumar said, according to PTI. “They should have instead pleaded for mercy without going into the merits.”
Indian law allows for the Parliament and state legislatures to impose punishments for “breach of privilege” for acts deemed to interfere with their work.
Raju of Yalahanka Voice had published an article on BJP MLA Vishwanath while Belagere of Kannada weekly Hi Bangalore had published an article on Shiraguppa Congress MLA Nagaraj. The journalists had earlier approached the Karnataka High Court seeking to quash the sentence, saying it was illegal and unconstitutional. However, the High Court had advised them to find an amicable solution to the controversy.