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Who said what after Kejriwal govt's media circular was stayed

delhi Updated: May 14, 2015 21:31 IST


The Supreme Court stayed on Thursday a circular by the Delhi government on filing defamation cases against media organisations for any news that caused damage to its reputation or that of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Asking Kejriwal to explain why the directorate of information had issued "such circular", the court sought a reply within six weeks and listed the matter for further hearing on July 8.

The court's order came on an application filed by senior advocate Amit Sibal seeking vacation of the stay granted by the apex court on the proceedings before a trial court in a defamation case.

Rival political parties welcomed the Supreme Court order. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress quickly reacted to the apex court's observation that accused Kejriwal of following double standards.

Welcoming the SC's decision of staying the circular, expelled AAP leader Prashant Bhushan too criticised the "double standard" of the Kejriwal dispensation.

Here's a look at who said what on the issue.

Congress: 'Against freedom of expression'

Congress general secretary and DPCC chief Ajay Maken said the Kejriwal government had not only targeted the media but also tried to throttle the voices of its political adversaries through the circular on filing of defamation cases against the media for any news that caused "damage" to its reputation.

"It was against the basic principle of freedom of expression. What Arvind Kejriwal wanted was to not only gag the media but also the common man and leaders of political parties. The circular was totally unconstitutional and we welcome the Supreme Court order," Maken said.

Senior Congress leader Pramod Tiwari too praised the SC for safeguarding the nation's crucial "fourth pillar of democracy".

"The court has shown (Arvind Kejriwal's) real face. This is what he really deserved. It is a sign of victory of democracy, because, the media is considered as the fourth pillar of democracy," Tiwari said.

BJP: 'Victory of democratic rights'

The Delhi BJP called the SC observation a victory of democratic rights.
"We welcome the Supreme Court order. In democracy, you cannot gag the media. The anti-media circular was aimed at curbing voices of dissent," said Delhi BJP leader Vijender Gupta.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, "It is very welcome step by the Supreme Court. It is clear now that the Delhi government and Kejriwal have acted in a very dictatorial way to formulate this draconian circular, which today (Thursday) has been stayed by the Supreme Court."

Shazia Ilmi, a former AAP leader who is now with the BJP, said, "Arvind Kejriwal wants to use the media. But when the same media shows him the mirror he cannot bear it."

Prashant Bhushan: 'Double standards'

The former AAP leader, who was expelled from the party last month and has now formed his own organisation Swaraj Samvad, said, "…the Supreme Court saw that on one hand Arvind Kejriwal has filed a petition to stay his defamation case challenging its constitutional validity. And on the other hand the same (Delhi) government is issuing circular that any media organisation, if it says something or writes anything which is defamatory, then a case of crimimal defemation will be filed on government expenditure."

"Then the Supreme Court said how can you have double standard on the issue," Bhushan said.


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