NEW DELHI: The Press Council of India will challenge in the Supreme Court a directive by the Allahabad High Court prohibiting all media reports relating to troop movements.
PCI Chairman Justice Markandey Katja said in a statement: "With great respect to the High Court, I am of the opinion that the order of the High Court is not correct".
Katia said the Indian Army was not a colonial Army but of the Indian people who pay taxes for the entire defence budget. Hence, the people of India have a right to know about Army affairs, except when they compromise national security.
Meanwhile, National RTI Forum Convener Nutan Thakur is filing a caveat in the apex court since she has sought inquiries into two news reports.
Katju noted the media had done an excellent job in exposing the Adarsh and Sukna scams in which senior Army officers were involved and they were well within their fundamental right of freedom of the media under Article 19(1)(A) of the Constitution to do so.
The court had directed Secretaries in the Home Affairs and Information and Broadcasting Ministries along with Principal Secretary (Home) of the UP government to ensure there is no reporting or release of any news item related to movement of troops.
He said reporting troop movement near the Indian border or during war time should be prohibited as that may aid the enemy and cause harm to the armed forces by compromising national security. "However, in my opinion there can be no general prohibition on reporting of all troop movements," he said.
"I am of the opinion that without going into the question whether the news reporting was factually correct or not, there could not have been a valid prohibition of such reporting, because the troop movement was not at the Indian border or during war time," he said.