Is Shobhaa De's tweet a breach of privilege?

Is Shobhaa De's tweet a breach of privilege?


Novelist Shobhaa De's tweet against the decision of Maharashtra government to make it mandatory for all theatres and e owners to screen Marathi movie during prime time has landed her into a big trouble. She tweeted through her official handle, marking, ''No more popcorn at multiplexes at mumbai? Dahi misal and vada pav only. To go better with the Marathi movies at prime time.'' The Bharatiya Janata Party got offended and Shiv Sena lawmaker filed a notice of breach of privilege against her.

It's a breach of privilege:

1. Shobhaa De is a journalist. On Twitter she made a statement that insulted the legislative assembly, the Marathi language, and the Maharashtrians. By stating that if Marathi movies are screened in multiplexes, then popcorn will need to be substituted by dahi misal and vada pav, it is a matter of great insult for Marathi culture.

2. De being a native to state and criticising it openly is a breach of privilege. She should have respect for the state where she belongs to. Her tweet is directly targeted to Marathi language, cinema and food. If her motive was only to oppose the government's decision, she should have been direct about it rather than mocked Marathi culture.

3. Firstly, she made fun of Marathi culture by such a tweet. Secondly, when the political leaders opposed her and ask her to apologize, she called it 'dadagiri'. She has also insulted the whole community including chief minister, political leaders, Marathi speaking people and the film. Thus, it is a breach of privilege and she must be charged for her statement.

4. Her tweets are offensive in nature, the court will have to intervene and if her statements are found objectionable she might even face jail terms. It would be unfortunate for Maharashtra that such comments came from Marathi people.

Not a breach of privilege:

1. Shobhaa De is an Indian celebrity writer who like any other individual has the right to put forth her view point. Her views were not supposedly insulting for Marathi language and Maharashtra. Someone needs to remind the politicians that section 66A is gone and everyone has the freedom of speech. Even if it's criticism, it is all right. Just posting her personal opinion can't lead to beach of privilege.

2. The decision to show Marathi movies during prime time would be promoting Marathi cinema and promotional activities should not be made mandatory by the legislative assembly. If she has objected against the decision, it doesn't in any way mean that she has harmed or insulted the culture.

3. Her tweet against the decision of Maharashtra government put the house on fire. If posting personal opinion leads to breach of privilege, then what would we call activities performed by Shiv Sena activists while protesting in front of her residence? Government needs to stop emphasizing such minor issues, and pay heed to developmental plans for the nation.

4. De's idea of opposing the government's views of making screening of Marathi movies mandatory in multiplexes has created a great controversy, but if we could just look at it from her point of view, her idea is not wrong after all. If government could not provide any subsidies on multiplexes, then they are also not supposed to make it compulsory.

5. Screening of Marathi cinema to be made mandatory would not be a correct decision. Spectators have the right to decide where and when to watch marathi cinema. All may not prefer the same. The taste and preference of all people are not always same. They should at least get the satisfaction worth their money and time. De refers to this act as 'dadagiri'.

6. When Shobha De termed the acts of these leaders as 'dadagiri', an offensive statement was made by the editorial team that said,''Had Chhatrapati Shivaji and Balasaheb Thackeray, in their time not done dadagiri, then your forefathers and children would have been born in Pakistan and you would have been attending page 3 parties in a burqa''. If such an insulting comment to womanhood can be justified, then how could a simple and straight forward statement leads to breach of privilege? Like many a times Shiv Sena and BJP leaders have directly targeted her again.


Shiv sena MLA Prarap Sarnaik filed a notice of breach of privilege against Shobha De in Maharashtra assembly. In her tweet through her official handle, she has actually mocked the Maharashtra culture and food for which she should apologize. If it's found to be really a breach of privilege, then appropriate action would be taken and she would also have to pay penalty for that but again improper protests outside her house and such statements by politicians is not the way law and order is maintained. Later she concluded by tweeting that she is a proud Maharashtrian and she loves marathi films. The fundamental rights allow anyone to voice out freely their opinion even it's criticism. Mumbai police has cooperated well with the situation by posting constables outside her residence and she is thankful for being safe.
Post your comment


  • RE: Is Shobhaa De's tweet a breach of privilege? -Ash (04/16/15)
  • Shobha De has directly targeted her tweets to Marathi movies, food and by etension to the marathi culture. I totally agree with Deepa Kaushik here that though we have our freedom of speech, our freedom must not hurt others, which Shobha De's tweet has done. What I consider here from the word 'privelege' in the topic is the privilege of the recognition that Shobha De has. However, this privilege does have it's limits and her recent tweets mocking Marathi culture and insult to the Chief Minister have surely breached the privileges.
  • RE: Is Shobhaa De's tweet a breach of privilege? -Reema (04/16/15)
  • Fundamentally we have the freedom to put forth our views but while doing so we shouldn't cross the line beyond a point which can hurt sentiments. And when you are a celebrity and has a piercing voice among the masses, please don't utter that can create unwarranted controversies. While you can agree to disagree, Shobha De should have maintained decency without being arrogant in her tweet against the law of screening of Marathi Movies at the prime time in the multiplexes. She could have lodge her views without insulting anyone.

    But we can't call it a breach of privilege. If you call it so then we have such breaches everyday and that too by our law makers.
  • RE: Is Shobhaa De's tweet a breach of privilege? -Deepa Kaushik (04/15/15)
  • De could have been gentle in her expression of views. The way she put forth her opinion seem to like mocking the Marathi films. Or atleast it seems as if the Marathi films are not worth enough to occupy the prime time. We do have the freedom of expression views, but our freedom should not hurt others.

    The Marathi films or for that matter any other film carries the same level of importance as any other movie. The Government wanted to promote the Marathi culture in their own way. She could have said her views in some more sensible language rather than offending the Marathi films.

    It is understandable that people from many other states also reside in Maharashtra, and they might have felt better if all sorts of movies occupy the prime time one-by-one, so that even those who don’t understand Marathi also gets the privilege to watch movie at theatres at prime time. Still, that doesn’t make De’s statement correct. She could have apologised for her words, rather than making it a bigger issue to churn up.

    To talk of the breach of privilege, as the matter has hit the court’s interference, it could be better decide by the judicial system, and appropriate action be taken accordingly. But yes, this concern could have been wrapped up in the initial phase itself, instead of making it a big picture.