The Rajya Sabha secretariat has issued a breach of privilege notice to Sudarshan News channel for airing expunged remarks of Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agrawal made in the House last week.
The notice has been issued after 28 Rajya Sabha members sent a petition to Chairman Hamid Ansari, alleging that “defamatory remarks” had been made on the channel against Agrawal for his remarks made during a debate in the House on July 19.
In the letter dated July 21, the channel has been asked to respond by July 28, failing which an ex-parte decision would be taken in the matter.
A letter signed by 28 MPs said, “This House takes cognizance of the complaint made by the members on defamatory remarks made in a TV channel (Sudarshan) against Sh Naresh Agrawal, MP(RS) for his statements made in the short duration discussion on 19th July and threat pronounced against Sh Agrawal…This is a serious breach of privilege of the House and member and should be acted upon.”
Those who signed the letter included Agrawal, Javed Ali Khan, Neeraj Shekhar, Vishambhar Prasad Nishad, Rewati Raman Singh, Jharna Das Baidya, Anand Sharma, Ravi Prakash Verma, Jaya Bachchan, Kiranmay Nanda, Tapan Kumar Sen, D Raja, Alok Tiwari, Sharad Yadav, T Subbarami Reddy, Bhubaneswar Kalita, Jairam Ramesh, Rajeev Shukla and Digvijaya Singh.
Sudarshan News, in a statement on the notice, said the 28 MPs were trying to muzzle the fourth estate on the pretext of privileges.
Quoting its Chief Editor Suresh Chavhanke, the statement said, “Objectionable comments against Hindu Gods and Goddesses will never be tolerated.”
On July 19, the House was holding a short duration discussion on mob lynchings when Agrawal had made the controversial remarks.
BJP members had objected to Agrawal’s comments after which Deputy Chairman P J Kurien expunged the remarks and asked the media not to broadcast or publish them.
(With inputs from PTI)