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Anupam Kher to face privilege motion in Maharashtra

Sunday April 10, 2011 09:08:33 AM, IANS

Mumbai: Maharashtra's legislators, upset over alleged derogatory utterances on the Indian constitution made by Bollywood actor Anupam Kher, Saturday moved a breach of privilege notice against him in the assembly. Kher denied having done any wrong.

The issue was raised by Nationalist Congress Party legislator Jitendra Awhad during question hour. He said he saw Kher on television repeatedly making derogatory statements on the constitution.

Kher has denied the allegations on social networking website Twitter, saying he was aware of his constitutional rights and duties.

Awhad is a strong supporter of NCP chief and union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who quit a ministers' group after activist Anna Hazare launched his anti-corruption campaign in New Delhi.

The legislator wanted Kher's statement to be converted into a breach of privilege notice and was supported in this by Congress legislator Amin Patel and Maharashtra Navnriman Sena's Bala Nandgaonkar.

Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Sudhir Mungantiwar also endorsed the move against Kher.

"The right to free speech is enshrined in our constitution, but this right cannot be allowed to be misued," Mungantiwar said.

Incidentally, Kher's actress wife Kirron is a permanent invitee on the BJP's national executive.

Some other members said that April 14 is the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar, the father of Indian constitution, and any derogatory remarks about the statute should not be encouraged.

Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil, while observing that nobody was above the constitution, said he understood the sentiments of the house and accepted the demand for moving a breach of privilege notice against Kher.

Minister for Social Justice Shivajirao Moghe said the house could have forgiven a slip of the tongue, but Kher's repetition of the remarks and comments on assembly proceedings amounted to "arrogance".

The speaker later directed the members to submit the notice of breach of privilege in writing to the Privileges Committee, which would then formally seek a reply from Kher.

The members said that Kher reportedly mentioned that "the constitution should be thrown out" when he and other Bollywood stars visited the venue of Hazare's fast against corruption in the national capital Thursday.

Among the first to support Hazare on Twitter, Kher also urged the Indian Premier League cricketers to support the anti-corruption campaign.






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