The High Court restrained the Press Council of India (PCI) in New Delhi from proceeding on a complaint dated July 30, 2010, from Tamil daily ‘Thinaboomi’ in Madurai.
Accepting the preliminary arguments of advocate-general A L Somayaji, the first bench of Acting Chief Justice R K Agrawal and Justice M Sathyanarayanan granted the injunction while passing interim orders on a petition from state chief secretary, home secretary (police), IGP (south zone), Madurai police commissioner and collector, on Monday.
According to the writ petition filed by special government pleader Abdul Saleem, Thinaboomi editor S Manimaran had lodged a complaint with PCI alleging that police trespassed into his house and picked up him and his son without a warrant on July 27, 2010, for publishing articles relating to granite quarrying.
The PCI had directed the State government to arrest, charge-sheet and suspend the police officers involved and observed that in case the arrests were not made, the government must quit. However, Manimaran withdrew his complaint before the PCI on April 5, 2013.
Despite this, the PCI was continuing with the case, Somayaji contended. At best, the PCI could have directed the local magistrate to take appropriate action. It could not issue directions to the government and make the observation. Once, the plaint was withdrawn, there was no scope for PCI to continue with the case as it had no jurisdiction.