Shouting matches between talking heads, or 'expert' debates, may have become the norm on all 24/7 news channels. But the Kerala High Court is decidedly angry with this growing trend.
On Tuesday, the High Court slammed Malayalam channels for crossing "all the limits of propriety, gentility and professional etiquettes," in discussions on the removal Vigilance Chief Jacob Thomas.
The court came down heavily on the media while considering a petition that sought the removal of VACB director Thomas.
On March 30, a few of the media had reported that considering a petition against the Vigilance Department, High Court Justice P. Ubaid had observed why the Vigilance director was allowed to continue in the post despite VACB’s excessively anarchic actions.
Denying the reports completely, on Tuesday, Justice Ubaid said that the court in its earlier judgement said that the “matter is exclusively within the prerogative of the Government,” and the court did not ask for his removal as reported by various media.
The court said this issue had led to unnecessary problems and that it was also dragged into it by a few channel discussions.
“One of the TV channels, and also one of the advocates who participated in the channel discussion crossed all the limits of propriety, gentility and professional etiquettes,” the court observed.
Justice Ubaid said that this TV discussion should be treated as interference in the process of administration of justice.
“The different TV channels organised such a discussion without enquiring and understanding what really happened in court. lt was wrongly and irresponsibly telecast that this Court has directed the Government to change the VACB Director,” the judgement says.
Justice Ubaid said that the court did speak about VACB’s excess anarchic actions and court had asked the prosecutor why the government was not taking any action to control and correct VACB.
The court said these words were misrepresented by media, which reported that the court had asked for removal of the Vigilance director.
“We judges cannot hold press meet or channel discussions. We can speak only through judicial orders, and I am doing so,” the court said.
The court observed that it is not sure whether VACB director has been removed or on leave, but it said “that is not the concern of the court”. Justice Ubaid said he hopes that honest media will report this judgement.
In the new judgement, the court has once again made it clear that “Let the government decide on the issue appropriately, The court cannot give any direction on the judicial side,” regarding the issue of VACB director.