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'Give us same punishment as Mid-Day scribes'
September 27, 2007 21:22 IST
In their application, the applicants sought to implead themselves in the special leave petition filed before the apex court by the tabloid against the journalists' sentences.
According to the applicants, the conviction of the four journalists was not only an assault on the freedom of speech but it will also send a wrong signal to the people of the country.
The petition 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 prayed, "mete out the same punishment to the applicants as will be meted out to the Mid Day journalists."
The signatories to the application include Magsaysay awardee Arvind Kejariwal, Amit Bhaduri and Professor Arun Kumar, former civil servant Harsh Mander, retired IPS officer K S Subramaniam, former bureaucrat S P Shukla 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 the tabloid Mid-Day for publishing allegedly scandalous articles against the former Chief Justice of India.
On September 11, the high court 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.
In the special leave petition filed before the apex court against their conviction, the contenders submitted that the high court's order was unreasonable and unjustified and the tabloid had published the article on the basis of documentary evidence.
The petitioner also attached clippings of newspaper in which some former chief justices had opined that there should be a judicial enquiry in the allegations labeled against the former chief justice.
The controversial article, published on May 18, alleged that Justice Sabharwal's order on the sealing issue had been passed to benefit his sons who were involved in the real estate business.