New Delhi: A group of journalists on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Centre and Haryana for ordering a judicial probe into alleged assault on them and other media persons during recent police operation to arrest self-styled 'godman' Rampal at Barwala in Hisar.
In the plea, which is likely to be taken up for hearing during the week, they have also sought punishment for "erring police officials" for resorting to 'lathi charge' without caution and care".
It alleged there was an increasing tendency to "muzzle the press" by the government authorities and sought "appropriate compensation" for the affected journalists and framing of guidelines to ensure "free and fair functioning of the media".
"The petitioners, who are media persons being victims and aggrieved to the unprovoked lathi charge on them in Hisar, Haryana during the stand-off between the police and supporters of Rampal, are filing the present writ petition to seek justice for violation of their fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution and freedom of the press which means absence of interference by the State with the media, except in so far as it is authorised by the constitution and by enactments which are constitutionally valid," the plea said.
Besides the incident at Hisar, it also referred to various recent incidents in which media persons have been attacked.
"It is surprising that, despite proper approval from their channels and local authority the journalists were targeted by the police from behind and subjected to the unprovoked attack suddenly near the Satlok Ashram near Barwala town of Haryana while they were covering the violent clash between the sect followers and security forces...," it said, adding a superior police officer first allowed them to go near the site and later resorted to 'lathi charge'.