The Maharashtra state legislature on Saturday admitted a breach of privilege notice against actor Anupam Kher for ‘insulting the constitution and challenging the powers of the state legislative assembly’.
Moved by NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad in the assembly, the motion saw all-party support. Assembly speaker Dilip Walse Patil who admitted the privilege notice said the process of sending the notice would be initiated immediately.
Awhad had first raised the issue on Thursday saying Kher, who was seen supporting Anna Hazare’s movement in support of the Lokpal Bill, had made derogatory statements against the constitution.
Speaker Dilip Walse Patil had asked the home department to examine his complaint and take appropriate action.
“The actor has insulted the constitution framed by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and the powers of the legislature. He has said ‘just like people change their underwear and gas cylinders, the constitution should also be replaced’,” Awhad said.
Kher, however, denied insulting the constitution.
He told HT, “Some politicians are misinformed and I don’t need to take them seriously. I haven’t said things as claimed by the politician. I respect the constitution much more than some people who pass comments without verifying facts.”
Kher summarising his quote on a TV channel said, “I had said if you can increase the pay of the MP in 30 seconds then you can make amendments to the constitution as well. Why is amending the constitution a problem? I never said it should be thrown away.”
Kher added that he had spoken to the channel before the broadcast and they had confirmed the content was not derogatory.
In the assembly, Kher was in for serious criticism. MNS legislator Bala Nandgaonkar said Kher had showed disrespect to the constitution and the 120-crore people of India.
Congress MLA Amin Patel said Kher was doing this for cheap publicity and demanded he be put behind bars.
BJP leader and MLA Sudhir Mungantiwar said the constitution was above all and no one could insult the proceedings of the house. “Freedom of speech does not mean one can say anything. The breach notice should be served to Kher on Monday, which he should reply to on Wednesday,” Mungantiwar demanded.