A division bench of Bombay high court in Nagpur on Thursday refused to entertain a writ petition that sought a ban on the media from airing and publishing the allegations of Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju on the elevation of a “tainted” district judge to Madras high court.
Former Supreme Court judge Katju had alleged that three former chief justices of India - justice RC Lahoti, justice YK Sabharwal and justice KG Balakrishnan - made “improper compromises” and succumbed to political pressure during the UPA rule from one of its allies, apparently the DMK, in allowing the judge to continue despite an “adverse” Intelligence Bureau (IB) report on allegations of corruption against him.
While filing the petition, Nagpur-based lawyer Uday Dastane claimed that news channels by airing contents related to Katju’s allegations brought disrespect and bad name to the judiciary and hence the court should interfere and ban the telecast of the controversial news immediately.
Assistant solicitor general Rohit Deo opposed the petition vehemently and stated the judiciary is not so fragile that it be damaged by such controversies.
Declining to entertain the petition, the court pointed out that the petitioner had not placed anything on record through his petition to justify the court’s interference under the Articles 226 or Article 215 of the Constitution.
Justice Bhushan Gavai and justice SB Shukre also stated the court can’t go into the aspect of contempt of court raised by the petitioner, as it does not find any element of contempt in the controversy.
The judges made it clear that the executive, legislature and judiciary stood on same pedestal and protective umbrella couldn't be extended to just one of them.
“We expect transparency from the executive and legislature, then why the judiciary matters should be put behind curtains?” the court asked.
Dismissing the petition, the division bench asked the petitioner to approach an appropriate forum in this regard.