Shiv Sena Member of Parliament Sanjay Raut's article on North Indians has brought down the image of parliamentarians in the public eye, a Rajya Sabha Privileges Committee on Monday held.
The committee, however, recommended no action against Raut, executive editor of Sena mouthpiece Saamna, in view of his expressing regret both orally and in writing.
In its report, the panel, chaired by Rajya Sabha Deputy chairman K Rahman Khan, said plain reading of the article gave an impression that the writer's attempt was to "ridicule the House and its members and to bring down the image of the members in the public eye".
The committee went into the case of breach of privilege by the article in Saamna.
The case was referred against the article in the Marathi daily by the Lok Sabha Speaker to the Rajya Sabha chairman.
The members, who had raised the question of privilege were Devendra Prasad Yadav, Ram Kripal Yadav and several others in the last Lok Sabha.
"The statements like 'the MPs from UP and Bihar are leading this tirade against the Maharashtrians in the Lok Sabha; Bihar MPs indulged in vile act...; rotten brains of these people...worthless leaders...his place is in prison but, unfortunately, he is in Parliament... are certainly, quite derogatory, unpleasant and made in bad taste", the committee said. The committee was of the view that these statements case reflections on MP in discharge of their duties and, therefore, tend to bring disrepute to the image of the House.
Noting that though the Press has the liberty to express its views freely on matters of public importance, it said "if anyone exceeds the limits of fair comment/criticism, indulges in imputation of motives to MPs or uses abusive language against them, he or she shall be guilty of the contempt and will attract the penal jurisdiction of the House".
The committee has concluded that the observations made by Raut in the article "besides being offensive and derogatory to certain Lok Sabha MPs, tended to undermine the right of freedom of speech in the House and, therefore, constituted a breach of privilege of those members and contempt of the House".
However, taking note of the expression of regret by Raut during his oral submissions as well as in writing, the committee is of the opinion that the matter need not be pursued further and recommended no action.