SC stays conviction of 4 scribes
The court also admits appeal filed by the daily, challenging the conviction imposed by the Delhi HC on Sept 21.Updated: Sep 28, 2007, 16:16 IST
The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the four months sentence imposed on four journalists of "Mid Day" for their alleged contemptuous reports against the former Chief Justice of India Y K Sabharwal.
A Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and P Sathasivam admitted the appeal filed by the daily against the September 21 conviction imposed by the Delhi High Court.
The apex court, however, rejected the impleadment application moved by 27 prominent citizens seeking an opportunity to be heard in the matter.
The apex court, while rejecting the intervention application, asserted that the applicants had no locus standi as the question was restricted to whether the journalists had committed contempt or not.
The Bench announced that it was appointing senior counsel and former Additional Solicitor General AR Andhiarjuna to act as amicus curiae in the matter.
Twenty-seven prominent citizens had on Thursday moved the Supreme Court pleading they be meted out the same punishment that might be awarded to the four Mid Day journalists for their alleged scandalous reports against the former Chief Justice of India YK Sabharawal.
According to the applicants, the conviction of the four journalists was not only an assault on the freedom of speech but would also send a wrong signal to the people.
The petition had claimed that the stand taken by the High Court was "erroneous and antithetical to the fundamental principles of our republican democracy and our Constitution."
In their application, they had prayed "mete out the same punishment to the applicants as will be meted out to the "Mid Day" journalists."
The signatories to the application included Magsaysay awardee Arvind Kejariwal, former civil servant Harsh Mander, retired IPS officer K S Subramaniam, former bureaucrat S P Shukla, Amit Bhaduri, Prof Arun Kumar and others.
On September 19, the Supreme Court had refused to stay the contempt proceedings initiated by the Delhi High Court against four senior journalists of city daily 'MidDay' for publishing articles against the former Chief Justice of India.
The High Court on September 11, had found M K Tayal, Editor of 'Mid Day', S K Akhtar (the then Publisher), Vitusha Oberoi (Resident Editor) and Irfan (Cartoonist) guilty of contempt of court.