Mumbai: Members cutting across party lines on Saturday moved a breach of privilege notice in Maharashtra Assembly against veteran actor Anupam Kher for his alleged derogatory comments against the Constitution.
Speaker Dilip Walse Patil said he was admitting the demand of the members that their statements made in the House be accepted as privilege notice against the actor.
He asked the members to give the notice of breach of privilege in writing that will be sent to the Privileges Committee.
The issue was raised by Jitendra Avhad (NCP) after the Question Hour. Avhad said he had brought Kher's comments to the notice of the members on Friday and the Speaker had issued directives to the Home department to look into the matter and take appropriate action.
Avhad said he saw on TV, Kher repeating his tirade against the Constitution, and even said he does not care about the issue figuring in the Assembly.
The NCP member requested the Speaker to convert his (Avhad) oral statement into a notice of breach of privilege.
Avhad was supported by Bala Nandgaonkar (MNS), Amin Patel (Congress) and several members.
BJP's Sudhir Mungantiwar and Prakash Shendge too supported the demand to move a breach of privilege against Kher, considered close to the party. Kher's wife - actress Kiron Kher is a permanent invitee on the BJP National Executive.
Mungantiwar flayed Kher for his alleged adverse comments about the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly and the Constitution.
Kher had reportedly said the "Constitution should be thrown out." He made these comments during a TV show on Anna Hazare's fast-unto-death for stringent anti-graft laws.
"It is because of the Constitution that each citizen gets the right of freedom of speech. However, this right cannot be allowed to be misused," Mungantiwar said.
Other members demanded that Kher be put behind bars for "insulting" the Constitution.
"April 14 is the birth anniversary of Ambedkar (the architect of the Constitution). What gift are we giving him - derogatory remarks about the work he had done to strengthen Indian democracy?" they asked.
"Nobody is above the Constitution and commenting on it as well as proceedings of the Legislative Assembly is not decency. Considering the sentiments of the House, I have decided to accept the issue as breach of privilege," the Speaker said.
Echoing the sentiments of the House, Social Justice Minister Shivajirao Moghe said India was the largest and the strongest democracy in the world. It is because of the Constitution that democracy in our country is thriving.
"Comments due to slip of tongue can be tolerated. But, repeating the remarks and also commenting on the Legislative Assembly proceedings amounts to arrogance," Moghe added.