People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 39

September 30, 2012


DUJ Concerned About Apex Court Ruling


ABOUT a recent verdict in which the Supreme Court of India has laid down the constitutional principles for postponement of reporting of sub judice matter, the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) has expressed its opinion that in certain cases it might prove a weapon in favour of the powerful interests against the powerless. In a statement issued from New Delhi on September 16, DUJ president Sujata Madhok vice president Dinesh Chandra and general secretary S K Pande said the doctrine of “postponement of reporting,” as propounded by the Supreme Court, could more often be abused by the powerful and the corrupt to suppress the voice of innocent victims and could more often than not be anti-people.


The DUJ cautioned that the doctrine of postponement of publication of hearings is fraught with grave dangers to the very “societal interest” which the apex court is purportedly trying to protect.


The DUJ opinion is that in numerous instances it was the media that which prevented a miscarriage of justice, for example by its exposure of the nexus between the prosecution and the defence in the notorious BMW case or heinous Jessica Lal murder case.


Later, an emergency meeting of the DUJ Executive Committee discussed the possibilities of filing a revision petition. Social activist and human rights lawyer Ashok Agarwal would file a petition on behalf of the DUJ.




Earlier, the DUJ observed September 13 as Protest Day in order to register its strong opposition to the arrest of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi. The union had demanded his immediate release and withdrawal of the charges against him. (The cartoonist came out on bail later.)


The DUJ also asked the government to immediately have a fresh look at the outdated law on sedition in order to ensure that journalists, writers and cartoonists are not made guinea pigs of vested interests, whether they are in the states or at the centre. Earlier, in a press statement issued on September 11, DUJ president Sujata Madhok and general secretary S K Pande said it was high time that the dubious use of sedition laws is prevented. The DUJ said there is a long history, going back to the British day, of these laws being misused to muzzle and silence dissent. The DUJ also said the misuse of the so called reasonable restrictions clause on free speech, in particular, must be changed. 


A special stock taking meeting of the DUJ on Wednesday, September 13, had had a look upon the continuing attacks on the press, increasing dangers to journalists and journalism, the working of the Working Journalists Act and certain aspects of the journalist Kazmi imprisonment case.


The DUJ also took note of the continuous press bashing visible in various states like Maharashtra, West Bengal and Gujarat. It noted that in Indore the case against Prabhat Kiran cartoonist Harish Yadav, who was arrested last year for a drawing of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, is still pending in courts though he was released on bail.