Contempt petition against PCI chairman Katju

Contempt petition against PCI chairman Katju

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NEW DELHI: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court is to hear on 17 May a petition charging Press Council of India Chairman Justice Markandey Katju and Secretary Vibha Bhargava of contempt of court by observing that the Court?s directive to ensure the print and electronic media do not report about troop movements.

In response to a directive sent to it by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for compliance of the High Court order, Justice Katju was reported to have said on 12 April that ?With great respect to the High Court, I am of the opinion that the order of the High Court is not correct.?

The Council has also filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court challenging the directive of the Allahabad High Court seeking to stop reporting of troop movements in the print and electronic media.

The order by Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice V K Dixit of the High Court had come on 10 April following a public interest litigation by National RTI Forum Convener Dr Nutan Thakur praying to get an enquiry conducted about two news articles related with Army movement published on 4 April 2012.

The Judges had directed the Secretary in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and others to ensure that there was no reporting of any news item by the Print and Electronic Media relating to the movement of troops and the Ministry had sent a letter to that effect to the Council. The Ministry had also published the order on its website www.mib.nic.in

In her contempt petition, Thakur says the Press Council did not comply with the High Court order. This constitutes Contempt of Court.

She says if the Press Council of India was aggrieved by such an order, it had every right to file a Special Leave Petition but as an implementing authority, the Press Council Chairman did not have a legal authority to term it ?not correct? and to decide by himself that they would not comply with this High Court order.

"If every implementing authority starts behaving in the same manner, it would completely prejudice the judicial process," she said in the petition for initiating contempt proceeding against Justice Katju and Bhargava.

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