New Delhi: Press Council Chairman Markandeya
Katju today issued a showcause notice to Maharashtra Chief
Minister Prithviraj Chavan over attacks on journalists in the
state and threatened to recommend to the President dismissal
of the state government.
"It is the duty of the state government to maintain law
and order in the state but it seems to me that your government
is neither able to maintain law and order nor prevent attack
on journalists, which seriously imperils freedom of the
press," Katju said in a letter to Chavan.
"You are, therefore, requested to now showcause why I
should not recommend to the President of India to dismiss your
state government under Article 356 of the Constitution since
your government apparently seems to have failed to uphold the
Constitution as it has failed to uphold the freedom of the
press under Article 19 (1) (a)," he said.
Katju asked Chavan to reply to his letter withing three
weeks, after which he would take "such action as is fit in the
The letter was written after a delegation of journalists
from Maharashtra met him and apprised him of attacks on
journalists and media houses in the state, including the
one on The Times of India building in Mumbai.
Katju also resented not getting any reply from
Maharashtra government to two of his letters earlier on the
issue of attacks on journalists.
"In this connection, I had written two letters to you but
there was no response from your side to either of them. Did I
not even deserve the courtesy of a reply"? he said.
Katju said he was informed that in the last ten years
over 800 journalists were physically attacked, while in the
last two and half years 213 journalists were attacked by
political workers and anti-social elements.