The Supreme Court has summoned Maharashtra Assembly Secretary for allegedly intimidating Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami.

According to legal website Bar and Bench, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde took strong exception to a letter written by the Maharashtra Assembly Secretary to Arnab Goswami on October 13 in which the latter was allegedly berated for producing before the Supreme Court, the minutes of proceedings sent to him by the Speaker and Privileges Committee of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in relation to a breach of privilege motion.

"The officer says how did you file this notice in the Supreme Court. How dare he? No one can be stopped from approaching this Court," CJI Bobde said.

"The intention of the officer seems to be to intimidate the petitioner because he moved the Supreme Court and to threaten him with penalty for doing so. The officer would have been well advised that the right to approach this Court under Article 32 is itself a fundamental right," the court said.

The bench, also including Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, in its order said: "The October 13 letter by secretary of Maharashtra legislative to Arnab Goswami says that action of disclosing the communications from the Assembly to the court amounts to breach of confidentiality and amounts to contempt. This amounts to direct interference in the administration of justice. The intention of the author of the letter seems to be to intimidate the petitioner (Arnab Goswami) because he approached this court and to threaten him with a penalty for doing so. The respondent no. 2(Secretary) would have been well advised to understand that the right to approach this court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India is itself a fundamental right." 

"There is no doubt if a citizen is deterred from approaching this court in the exercise of his right under Article 32, it would amount to a serious interference in the administration in the country. We issue notice to the Respondent number 2. We find that though the respondents have been served in these proceedings which have been pending for some time, they have not entered appearance."

"Though the Respondents have been served apparently on October 5, 2020 (affidavit of service October 13), they have issued a letter dated October 13 to Arnab Goswami. We, therefore, issue notice to the secretary of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. We issue notice to the Secretary of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, to show cause as to why contempt should not be issued against him in terms of Article 129 of the Constitution of India, returnable in 2 weeks'."