SC on Arvind Kejriwal

THE Supreme Court has stayed a Delhi government circular pushing for defamation suits against the critics of the administration in the media. The court has questioned the AAP government’s inconsistent stand on defamation and free speech calling it hypocritical. The circular issued by the Kejriwal government was seen as an attempt to intimidate the media. The government had also moved the apex court to quash the Indian Penal Code’s section 499 and 500 relating to defamation. The court has also sought the reasons behind the issuance of the circular. It has been pointed out that Kejriwal had at the same time argued that a trial under the defamation law amounted to the coercion of a citizen and a violation of the fundamental right of free speech.
What is surprising is that the leader of the Aam Aadmi Party had taken the step to muzzle the organs of free speech as he had always championed the rights of the aam aadmi. The circular issued by the AAP government violated the spirit of the Constitution and during his days of activism, Kejriwal had voiced his support for fairness and transparency. According to his circular, a good journalist is said to be one who toes the official line. That undermines the faith of the electorate in the fourth estate. There seems to be a world of difference between Kejriwal fighting for power and Kejriwal in power. The fact is that the AAP government has failed miserably to fulfill its electoral promises and Kejriwal is scared of a free press criticizing his government’s performance. What is regrettable is that his cabinet includes a few journalists. The Supreme Court ruling should make Kejriwal see reason.

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