The media-lawyers spat in the state is showing no signs of dying down. While the media has not been allowed inside almost all courts in Kerala for almost 15 days, following clashes in at least three courts, the latest in the saga was the suspension of a sub-inspector of police.
SI Vimodh was suspended on July 30th by the Police department for abusing and preventing media persons from entering the Kozhikode court premises. A case was registered against the SI based on a complaint filed by media persons post the incident. He was booked under section 342, 323 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. SI Vimodh has approached the High Court seeking that the cases registered against him be quashed.
What is interesting is that more than 100 lawyers have moved the court in Vimodhâs behalf, and the list includes quite a few senior lawyers of the Kerala High Court.
It is unusual and in a way unprecedented that so many lawyers are moving court on behalf of one person. One could view it as lawyer solidarity against media.
Though many lawyers have moved the court, only one lawyer who has the âvakalathâ or permission from the petitioner will represent him.
The Kerala High Court has designated lawyer P Vijaya Bhanu as the senior in the list and he will represent SI Vimodh in court. Speaking to The News Minute, he denied knowledge of 100 odd lawyers backing the SI. âI have taken up the case after other lawyers approached me and I will fight the case impartially. The on-going scuffle between lawyers and media persons has nothing to do with how we fight a case in court. I am only concerned whether an offence is committed or not,â he said.
The tension in the courts started after government pleader Dhanesh Mathew Manjooran was accused by a woman of molesting her. Lawyers took exception to certain media reports. But things soon spiralled out of control with lawyers objecting to media presence in court and journalists in turn sat on dharna in the HC. After the High Court, Vanchiyoor court in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam district court saw violent clashes between the media persons and the lawyers. The SIâs move had only added fuel to the on-going controversy.
Meaanwhile, senior High Court lawyer Udaya Bhanu said that so many lawyers coming forward to represent the suspended officer is uncalled for.
"As it is, the situation is tense with disagreements between lawyers and media perons becoming more prominent. In such a situation, if a fraternity of lawyers come forward to represent the officer, it will only worsen the media-lawyers scuffle,"he said.