Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday said there is no bar on journalists to report court proceedings and called the action of a section of lawyers obstructing reporting unacceptable. Inaugurating the state meeting of Kerala Union of Working Journalist in Kochi, Vijayan said government would take action against those violating law in this regard.
“There was no bar for journalists to report court proceedings and action of some lawyers putting obstruction in reporting cannot be accepted,” Vijayan said. His statement comes a day after some lawyers dragged out media persons who went at the Vigilance Court in Thiruvananthapuram to cover the hearing of a petition against former Industries Minister E P Jayarajan on an appointment row.
“Advocates have no right to decide who should enter courts and who should not. The court complex belongs to the country. It is part of judiciary and advocates have no right over it”, he said. “It is also a misunderstanding that advocates have a small power that of judge”, he said.
Preventing journalists amounted to causing hindrance to freedom of the press, he said, adding, the advocates should understand that it was violation of law. It is the duty and responsibility of the government to take steps to protect law of the land, he added. Vijayan also explained the initiatives taken by him in ending the standoff between media and a section of lawyers by holding discussion with High Court Chief Justice recently.
A group of lawyers, angered over a media report about a government pleader allegedly misbehaving with a woman, had chased some media persons away and media have not been able to go to the High Court to report its proceedings since July 19.
‘A media delegation of Editors from Kerala had recently met President Pranab Mukherjee and brought to his notice the issues faced by journalists with regard to court reporting. The delegation had informed the President about the closure of media room inside the High Court in Kochi and at other courts in the state and the efforts by the Chief Justice to find an amicable solution to the problem.
He said after the discussion he had with the Chief Justice, the High Court Registrar General had informed that there was no bar for media to cover court proceedings. Despite the assurance, the attack on journalist at the Vigilance Court on Friday is not acceptable, he said. Vijayan said that efforts should be made to isolate those trying to create problems.
Meanwhile, police have registered a case in connection with Friday’s attack on journalists at the Vigilance Court.