Senior lawyers of the Supreme Court have expressed anger and concern over the growing conflict between a section of the lawyers in Kerala and journalists for the past few months.
Prashant Bhushan, senior advocate, said to THE WEEK that lawyers of the Kerala High Court and other courts in the state “have no business whatsoever to prevent journalists from entering the court premises.” Said Bhushan, “This is a violation of law. The judges are supposed to stop the lawyers from breaking law. Even after that if the lawyers don’t listen, contempt of court charges should be filed against them. What is happening in Kerala is not right. Better sense should prevail.”
The relation between journalists and lawyers in the state turned bitter after some journalists were beaten up by lawyers at the High Court in July over the media coverage of a sexual harassment case involving a government pleader. The attack on journalists continued even after the intervention of the governor, the chief justice and the chief minister. Some days ago, a few lawyers attacked four journalists, including two women, at a district court in Thiruvananthapuram.
Said the Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi to THE WEEK, “Imagine the amount of public disservice, if either lawyers or journalists are obstructed. The victim in both the cases is the common man. Solving the issue requires a high level of statesmanship on both sides. I want to request everyone to give up their ego and come up with an amicable solution.” Singhvi, a senior lawyer of the Supreme Court, said that he was prepared to intervene in the issue.
Said K.K. Venugopal, senior advocate, Supreme Court, to THE WEEK, “It will be not proper on my part to comment on the issue or take sides without knowing the exact reason behind the tussle. In such cases, I feel it is the chief justice and other judges at the High Court who should find a solution.”
K.T.S. Tulsi, senior lawyer, said that the court is a public place where every person has the right to enter. Said Tulsi to THE WEEK, “It is completely wrong for the lawyers to prevent journalists from entering the court. People have every right to know what is happening inside the court. The advocate general and the bar association president should make sure that the prestige of the High Court is not at stake.”