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The Hindu journalists petition SC

Last updated on: November 08, 2003 20:37 IST

Five journalists of The Hindu newspaper on Saturday filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Tamil Nadu assembly's decision to jail them for 15 days for breach of privilege of the House.

They requested the court to declare as illegal the assembly's resolution.

As an interim measure, the journalists sought stay on their arrest.

When the matter was put up before Justice R C Lahoti, he fixed it for hearing on Monday.

The matter is listed for hearing before a bench comprising Justice Y K Sabharwal and Justice S B Sinha.

Assembly Speaker K Kalimuthu had issued arrest warrants against Editor N Ravi, Executive Editor Malini Parthasarthy, Publisher S Rangarajan, Chief of Bureau V Jayant and Special Correspondent Radha Venkatesan of The Hindu.

The order was issued in connection with an editorial based on an article written by Jayant and Venkatesan.

Amidst protest from the entire opposition, Kalimuthu also ordered the arrest of S Selvam, editor of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam daily Murasoli, for publishing the translated version of the editorial.

The decision caused a furore in journalistic circles, with the Press Council calling a meeting to review the situation and adopting a resolution seeking revocation of the verdict.

The Indian Newspaper Society, apex body of newspaper publishers, described the action as "totally unjustified".

To initiate action against the top executives of a daily like The Hindu only because the paper made certain observations against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and the assembly speaker was unwarranted, M P Veerendra Kumar, INS president and PTI chairman, said.

Not only was the action an attack on democracy but it also smacked of fascism, he said

Various other journalist bodies, including the Editors' Guild of India, All India Newspaper Editors' Conference, Indian Language Newspaper Association, Indian Journalists Association, National Union of Journalists (India) and the Press Club of India, also criticised the action.

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