It will not be proper for me to make any comment about the particular case of Naveen Soorinje because I am informed that charge-sheet has been filed in a court and that the judicial proceedings are pending before judicial magistrate, and I am told that a petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C is pending before the High Court praying for quashing of the criminal proceedings. As such, since the matter is sub-judice both before the trial court and the High Court it will not be proper for me to comment about the particular case of Mr. Naveen Soorinje.
However, I am informed that in Mangalore journalists are often harassed by the police and also by the hooligans. I therefore make it clear that the Press Council will not tolerate violation of press freedom either by assaults on journalists or giving threats or in any other manner. Freedom of the press is a fundamental right under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution and it is the duty of the State to uphold this right.
I therefore warn the authorities, which includes both political, administrative and police authorities that if they violate this press freedom by assaults or threats to journalists or in any other manner the Press Council will take strong action in this connection. In particular, the State Government of Karnataka through its Chief Minister is given a strong warning to uphold press freedom and to suppress the activities of hooligans or police personnel who violate fundamental rights of citizens, including the journalists.
The State Government is warned that if it does not protect journalists and uphold press freedom it will be deemed that the State Government is unable to run the Government in accordance with the Constitution, and then the legal consequences in Article 355 and 356 of the Constitution may follow. Article 356 (is invoked) when the President of India finds on the report of the Governor or otherwise that the State Government is unable to function in accordance with the Constitution. I am also part of “otherwise” and anybody can make a recommendation. Of course it is up to the President to accept it or not. Under Article 355 Central Government can issue a warning to the State Government asking it to run the Government in accordance with the Constitution failing which recourse may be had to Article 356.
- Shooting the messenger #FOE (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- The wrongful arrest of Naveen Soorinje #VAW reporting (kractivist.wordpress.com)