Journalists withdraw `boycott` after Pawar offers apology

Within hours of Sharad Pawar saying he had no qualms about tendering a public apology if his nephew Ajit Pawar had used abusive language against scribes, journalists announced they were withdrawing their agitation

Mumbai: Within hours of Union Minister Sharad
Pawar saying he had no qualms about tendering a public apology
if his nephew and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar
had used abusive language against scribes, journalists on Friday
announced they were withdrawing their agitation.

Since Saturday, media in Maharashtra has been at
loggerheads with Ajit Pawar for his remarks and there is an
ongoing agitation by scribes, which includes non-coverage of
his functions and those of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

"I have been reading about it (the controversy) in
newspapers and as the chief of NCP, I won`t mind tendering a
public apology if any derogatory language has been used,"
Pawar told reporters at Kolhapur in western Maharashtra.

Soon after, at a meeting of the Patrakar Halla Virodhi
Samiti, which spearheaded the agitation, it was decided to end
the boycott. The Samiti, however, announced that journalists
would stage protests in the state on February 15 to demand
immediate enactment of a law on attacks on media.

Denying that he ever made comments about `stifling` the
media during a function in Nanded district on Saturday, Ajit
Pawar recently told the Chief Minister that he will not accept
the blame for what he did not say.

"I have been quoted as saying that journalists should be
thrashed. There is no question of accepting what I have not
said, in the first place," Ajit Pawar had said in a written
explanation to the Chief Minister.

On Wednesday, journalists from print and electronic media
boycotted the post-cabinet press briefing scheduled to be
addressed by the Chief Minister, to protest Ajit Pawar`s
remarks against them.


New Delhi: "No government wants strong
judiciary," was how the Supreme Court on Friday expressed its
exasperation over the low budgetary allocation to the

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly said less
than one per cent of the budget is alloted to the judiciary
which is facing a huge infrastructural problem and shortage of

"No government wants strong judiciary. It is only on the
paper. Look at the budgetary allocation. It is less than one
per cent," the bench remarked while pointing out that the
judiciary is overloaded and a large number of courts need to
be set up across the country for speedy justice delivery.

Pointing out the infrastructural problem and growing
vacancies in the judiciary, the court said, "it is a very very
difficult situation. If by chance the government does it
(setting up more courts), then we have difficulty in getting
competent people."

The court`s remarks came while hearing a petition filed
by former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh on phone-tapping
case. It expressed its displeasure over the tardy of progress
in the trial of the case.