The Maharashtra government on Tuesday permitted door-to-door delivery of newspapers in the state, except in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and Pune, where it may be sold at exempted units such as grocery stores and milk vends.
Earlier, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court observed that while majority of the newspapers are available through e-paper mode, it is not possible for majority of the public to access e-paper as they may not be conversant with the technology or are used to reading of hard copy of a newspaper.
While taking note of earlier newspaper reports on Maharashtra government’s decision prohibiting door-to door delivery of newspapers during the lockdown, the court said, “One fails to understand, when the state government is permitting the purchase of newspapers at the stalls and the shops established, as to why the door-to-door delivery of newspapers is prohibited.”
A single judge bench of Justice Prasanna B Varale took suo motu cognisance of the newspaper reports, issued notice and directed the government to file its response on the decision within a week’s time. The bench appointed advocate Satyajit Bora as amicus curie.
The court also said that the government can certainly consider restricting door-to-door delivery of newspapers in particular areas. The HC noted in its order, “One also fails to understand the logic behind the situation, wherein the newspapers are permitted to be printed and published by the media houses but they are not permitted to be distributed door-to-door and there is only a restricted distribution.”
On Monday, the Nagpur bench of the High Court too issued a notice to the Maharashtra government over its circular banning door-to-door delivery of newspapers in the state.
The bench of Justice Nitin Sambre sought the government’s response within two days on a petition filed by Nagpur Union of Working Journalists and Maharashtra Union of Working Journalists challenging the legality of the ban.
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