It’s definitely censorship, says F.S. Nariman

Congratulations on your courageous front-page editorial, “It’s censorship” (April 15). It is. It definitely is! The Press Council should be informed — it must uphold the freedom of the Press now and always.



H.K. Dua’s editorial “It’s censorship” (April 15) made thought-provoking reading. He rightly says that it is not proper for the Press to submit to the press communiqué from the Registrar (Judicial) -cum- Public Relations Officer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The communiqué is devoid of any force in law. The law of contempt comes into operation only when a contemptuous news story is published and not before the publication of the story. A pre-publication scenario and a post-publication scenario are distinct and separate situations.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, 2002, citizens can secure access to information which is under the control of the public authorities. This will promote openness, transparency and accountability in administration.




Even otherwise, freedom of speech is a fundamental right under Article l9 (1) (a) of the Indian Constitution. This right is available to the Press also. Furthermore, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinion without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of the frontiers.”

An established and esteemed newspaper like The Tribune need not compulsorily get its news stories checked before publication from anyone.

ANSHUL JOY, Student, Department of Laws, Panjab University, Chandigarh


H.K. Dua has shown rare courage in criticising a letter written by Mr M.M. Singh Bedi, Registrar (Judicial) -cum- Public Relations Officer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to different newspapers. The message of the letter is loud and clear. “The affairs of the High Court are above and beyond criticism. The writer calls it “censorship”. I call it “Indian feudal culture of hating dissent”.

Even after 56 years of Independence, we have not been able to imbibe democratic values in our day-to-day life. Those who happen to be at the helm of affairs of the state tend to behave like demigods. They don’t listen to the common people. Most of them are power-drunk. Powerful men and women have freedom in India to mock at the poor and weak.

Dr R. B. YADAV DEHATI, Fatehabad


It is sad that the freedom of the Press is being curtailed even during the normal times. When the Press does not fall a prey to cheap scandal-mongering and is totally impartial, courageous and honest (as The Tribune is) in its utterances, there is no need to impose any censorship on this most striking feature of modern civilasation that moulds our opinion and enables us to raise our voice against any injustice. To stifle the Press is to stifle the nation.

DEV ROOP, Jwalamukhi


The law of contempt is an easy tool with the judiciary, the fear of which drives away the honest citizens and/or government officers from performing their duty. As it is, honesty at the official level is a rare commodity. Only the ones who do not have political godfathers, etc, and can’t dare accept illegal earnings try to remain honest.

Imagine an honest officer, sticking not to accept illegal gratification is bound to cause financial or other loss to one of the parties in dispute. The financially sound party hauls the officer in court, with prior arrangement with the judicial officer, so it appeared, gets the officer rebuked and reprimanded in the court on flimsy grounds. The officer is humiliated in the open court in the “Wolf and the Lamb” style enactment who can’t open his mouth for fear of committing contempt of court. My respectful appreciation for the courageous piece of writing.

PAL, Astoria (New York)


I sincerely admire the courage that H.K. Dua has exemplified while addressing the age-old issue of an unwelcome interference by the judiciary in the freedom of the Press.

Though Press censorship takes many forms and raises its head in almost all countries, a few countries have legal systems that not only guarantee freedom of the Press and meaningful public access to information but also make an earnest endeavour to enforce such rights.

India, for sure, is definitely not one of them. Without any enforcement and implementation, such rights are a classical example of a make-believe sham.

Ironically, the same judiciary appears ostensibly powerless, to do anything to protect the interests of investigative journalists who take huge personal risks while digging into corruption stories. This completely defeats the purpose of meaningful investigations done by the media.

SOURAV ROY, North India Correspondent, BBC Five Live, London


It was indeed a great pleasure to read the editorial “It’s censorship”. Nobody is above the law of the land, including the judiciary.

I, on behalf of the Indian Medical Association, congratulate The Tribune Editor-in-Chief for writing so boldly and assure him that not only the IMA but also the whole society will continue to support him for defending the freedom of the Press.

Dr Gursharan Singh, President, Indian Medical Association, (Punjab), Ludhiana


The editorial “It’s censorship”, exposing the highhandedness on the part of an officer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, is a shining example of journalism of a high order.

The principles of natural justice demand that those who sit on judgement over others should also be prepared to accept the responsibility for any shortcomings, if pointed out.

R.P. SOOD, Chandigarh


If the judiciary imposes censorship on the freedom of speech, opinion and such other information, the meaning of democracy has to be interpreted for one’s own interest.

Such instructions must be removed by law or any other way, so that public interest is safeguarded and protected, ensuring a free flow of information.

DEVINDER SINGH PANAG, Mohadian (Fatehgarh Sahib)


Please consider this small proposition. The Tribune is one of the most non-controversial newspapers I have come across. Yet it falls out of the Punjab and Haryana High Court rather frequently

. With just as much regularity it wins. Might this have to do with two points. One, being simply truthful and responsible is enough to make one revolutionary and controversial.

And two, despite the presumption of Satya Meva Jayate, the fact remains that Satya requires a lot of support from outside for being victorious.



People have right to know, says Kuldip Nayar

I congratulate you on your bold and candid editorial. It deserved the front-page attention because the courts try to hide from people in the name of privilege such things which they have right to know.

I have the highest respect for the judiciary but if it does not follow the norms and standards expected from it, the day is not far when the respect will get shrunk and remain on paper alone.

Democracy demands transparency. Any action coming in the way will make it opaque and harm the democracy itself.

Kuldip Nayar, Veteran journalist, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi


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