Mumbai, Mar 28 (PTI) Maharashtra Legislative Council Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar today directed the state government to explore the possibility of bringing in a suitable law for protecting the privileges of the members of the state legislature.

The chairman’s suggestion came after NCP member Sunil Tatkare moved a breach of privilege motion against a member of the Raigad Zilla Parishad, Kishor Jain, for criticising a decision of the council chairman.

“The person spoke ill of a decision taken by the council chairman in a meeting the latter had held recently in his office. Nobody has the right to speak against the decision taken by the chairman. The person went as far as saying that chairman’s authority is limited to the premises of the legislature,” Tatkare said.

Backing Tatkare, Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde (NCP) said if a strict decision is not taken now, the legislature will lose the respect of people.

“Tomorrow, members of gram panchayats will speak against us. Then members of municipal councils and corporations will talk against us. People will not think twice before insulting members of the state legislature then,” Munde said.

Observing that the breach of privilege committee at times takes long to take a decision on cases, Munde demanded a specific time-frame for clearing pending cases.

PWP member Jayant Patil said comments against the chairman amounted to insult of the Upper House.

“There should be a strong law to ensure members of the House are not insulted,” Patil said.

BJP Leader of the House and Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said the Zilla Parishad member concerned should be made to understand that the chairman’s position is not just limited to the legislature.

He backed Munde’s observation that the breach of privilege committee does not decide on cases in time.

Chairman Nimbalkar then said he was forwarding the breach of privilege motion moved by Tatkare to the privileges committee and directed that a decision be taken over this issue within a month’s time.

“If the existing law is incomplete, it should be studied and the necessary action taken. Also, discussions should take place with local bodies members to explain to them that belittling the status of the legislature is not good for democracy.

“If there is no suitable law in place, the government should consider bringing in a suitable law in the next session,” said the chairman.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.