The Regional Committee of the Indian Newspaper Society and the Kerala Television Federation have written an open letter to Chief Justice of India T S Thakur, appealing him to resolve the stand-off between media persons and lawyers in the state. The letter, carried on page one of all major dailies on Tuesday, said, “A huge blot left by a section of the legal fraternity has blurred the transparency of the judicial process even as grand preparations for the diamond jubilee celebrations are on.”
The CJI is on a visit to the state to attend the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Kerala High Court.
Welcoming him on the occasion of the state’s 60th formation day today, the letter said the actions of a section of legal fraternity have seriously affected the excellent relations that prevailed till recently between the judiciary and the media in the state.
The letter recalled a series of incidents played out by a section of lawyers following the reportage of an incident involving government pleader Dhanesh Mathew Manjooran who had allegedly misbehaved with a woman in a crowded street here.
Such incidents were a blot on the legacy of judiciary in the state which has benefited from the timely intervention of many illustrious judges whose vision and perspective had given Kerala a right roadmap to evolve as an enlightened society with good legal literacy, it said.
Recalling a meeting the senior representatives of the Kerala media had with the CJI in New Delhi, the letter said, “We all were immensely hopeful of an early solution post this meeting. But unfortunately precious little has changed on the ground”.
“This bleak scenario is continuing inspite of intervention of Governor Justice P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, various international press associations, senior leaders of all socio-political organisations and prominent citizens,” it said.
The letter also cited an incident in which journalists were hounded out of the Chief Justice’s court in Kerala High Court the very next day after a third communique reassuring media of hassle-free entry and reporting, signed by the registrar general, was sent to the media houses in the state.
“At the Vanchiyoor court in Thiruvananthapuram, sadly, again in the presence of the judge, journalists, including women, were booed and manhandled and elbowed out of the courtroom,” said the letter.