SC notice on journalists' plea against lathicharge

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre and the Haryana government on a petition filed by a group of journalists seeking a direction for a judicial probe into alleged assault on journalists during police crackdown against self-styled godman Rampal in Hisar.

A bench of Justices T S Thakur and Adarsh Kumar Goel admitted the petition for consideration and sought response from the Union government and Haryana.

Senior advocate Rajiv Dhavan, appearing for the petitioner, urged the court to examine the issue. The court, which initially favoured the journalists to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court, agreed to hear the plea.

A group of journalists, including Vikas Chandra, Prabhakar Mishra and Shree Niwas, sought punishment for “erring police officials” for “unprovoked lathicharge” on them “without caution and care”.

The plea also alleged that there was increasing tendency to “muzzle the press” by government authorities and sought “appropriate compensation” for the affected journalists and framing of guidelines to ensure “free and fair functioning of the media”.

They contended that the journalists were targetted on November 22 despite prior approval from local authorities for coverage of the police action at Satlok Ashram near Barwala town of Haryana.

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