Fake reporters:HC impleads Registrar of Newspapers, CentrePTI | Chennai | Updated: 05-02-2020 22:11 IST | Created: 05-02-2020 22:11 IST
As part of steps to weed out fake press reporters, the Madras High Court on Wednesday on its own impleaded the Registrar of Newspapers for India and the Centre as party respondents in some petitions relating to the case. The court asked them to file their counter affidavits by February 12.
It also directed the state government to ask police to trace those holding identity cards in the name of 'All India Anti-Corruption Press, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India and take action if they are found to be misusing the name of the Government of India under the relevant Act. A division bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and P Velmurugan gave the directive while passing interim orders on a plea filed by S Sekaran.
The petitioner sought adirection to the Tamil Nadu DGP to consider his representation to form a team and probe the report conveying "fallacious investigation data" in Idol theft submitted by Special Officer Pon Manickavel, idol wing, before the court. The bench said an affidavit has been filed by the government stating that there were 226 journalists associations registered in Tamil Nadu and an additional status report has been filed by the DGP stating that there were 204 cases registered against journalists.
When the case came up, Advocate A.P Suryaprakasam appearing for one of the impleading petitioners Manikandan submitted a list of those who claimed to be members of of the Press and Media Reporters Union. This list was filed in connection with another case by them before the Madras high court, he added.
Expressing shock over the list produced by Suryaprakasam, the bench asked the Special government pleader E Manoharan as to how many reporters/journalists association were there in Chennai and Tamil Nadu. Public prosecutor A Natarajan produced an additional status report filed on behalf of the DGP, listing the number of cases registered against journalists in Tamil Nadu.
The bench said "We want to weed out the fake journalists. We want to cleanse the system. We want to protect the genuine journalists." Advocate N Ramesh, appearing for the Chennai Press Club, submitted that the press club was ready to conduct its elections. In its interim order, the bench said it was evident from the papers filed by the newly impleaded respondents that fake press identity cards have been issued in the name of 'All India Anti Corruption Press, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India." "It is seen that about 100 press identity cards have been issued under the name," the bench said and directed public prosecutor Natarajan to ask the police to investigate.
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