Solidarity with Mid-Day journalists sign now

We, the undersigned journalists in Mumbai, strongly deplore the September 21st ruling of the Delhi High Court that held Mid-Day's three journalists and a publisher guilty of contempt of court and sentenced them to four months in prison. We extend our solidarity to the four sentenced and believe they are fighting a just battle. Clearly, in the entire saga, truth, whose pursuit is the very basis of journalism, has become a casualty.





The journalists were sentenced for carrying reports that examined the then Chief Justice of India Justice Y.K. Sabharwal's orders for sealing commercial establishments in Delhi. The reports had alleged that his order largely benefited his son in his real estate business. Since Justice Sabharwal retired, he has been under some pressure to come clean on the issue. However the Delhi High Court, in suo moto contempt case, held the journalists guilty of contempt without going into the details of the accuracy of the report or the truth behind them.





It is the utmost irony that our nation swears by the motto Satyameva Jayate" (Truth will triumph) but truth can not be a defence in contempt cases.





Disclosing truth cannot be and should not be an offense under any circumstances. And, the Delhi high court order is surprising in that Contempt of Court Act was amended last year to allow truth as a defence in the matters of contempt.





We are also of the opinion that no democratic institution, whether the Parliament, Executive, Judiciary or the Media, should be above accountability and transparency. To restore public confidence in the judiciary Supreme Court must investigate the allegations made against former CJI Sabharwal. The allegations are of serious nature and have been made by persons of impeccable credibility and honesty. Only then will the confidence in judiciary be restored.





We demand:





1. The Supreme Court should quash Delhi High Court's order holding Mid-Day's three journalists and a publisher guilty of Contempt of Court.





2. Truth is and should be a defence in all Contempt of Court cases.








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Cassandra BonillaBy:
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