PCI Chairman lashes out at Associations; rejects 13th Press Council nominations

The Chairman of the Press Council of India, former Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, rejected all six nominees of the Editors Guild of India, Hindi Samacharpatra Sammelan and All India Newspapers Conference for the constitution of the 13th Press Council.

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Feb 21, 2018 9:00 AM Updated: Feb 21, 2018 9:00 AM

The Chairman of the Press Council of India, former Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, rejected all the six nominees of the Editors Guild of India, Hindi Samacharpatra Sammelan and All India Newspapers Conference for the constitution of the 13th Press Council.

“I am of the opinion that panels submitted by the Association of Editors and of Owners or Managers of newspapers are defective,” said Justice CK Prasad.

He further observed that for the “nomination of the Editors among working Journalist categories do not contain twice the number of members to be nominated under the said category.”

According to the Press Council Act the council shall consist of a Chairman and twenty-eight other members.

It also says that “the council shall, in the prescribed manner, invite panels of names comprising twice the number of members to be nominated from such associations of persons of the categories referred...”

However, the Editors Guild of India, Hindi Samachar Patra Samellan and All India Newspapers Editors Conference have not filed “twice the numbers of member to be nominated” under the Editors’ category. They have filed only six names.

Also of these six names, Ms Manini Chatterjee and Shree Juned Ahamad are ineligible to claim the designation of Editors as they are “Editor (National Affairs)” and “News Editor” respectively.

Therefore, while rejecting the nominations he said, “The Chairman cannot tinker with the discretion of the recommending Associations but at the same time he is not obliged just to act as a Post Office.” He further added that in case the candidates lack basic eligibility, the Chairman shall, with his rights, not nominate such candidates.

Similarly, the Indian Newspaper Society, All India Small & Medium Newspapers Federation and Association of Small & Medium Newspapers of India have not filed twice the number of members to be nominated.

And in defence both have pleaded that it was not necessary to give twice the number of members to be nominated under these categories and added that even in the past such panels were routinely accepted, further arguing that “it was only a request of the PCI Secretariat and it is not the requirement of the Act”.

However, rejecting their argument the Chairman said that this is a mistake of insignificant nature and fit to be ignored.

The Associations further appealed the Chairman to ignore this mistake “in the name of compassion and benevolence”, pointing out that earlier nominations used to be made from such defective panels. On this note, the Chairman lashed out at the Associations saying, “It is true that law must be tempered with justice but this does not mean that in the name compassion and benevolence, provisions of law can be allowed to be subverted and that too at the hand of those who are not illiterate and expected to be conscience keeper of the Nation.”

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