A plea was filed in Himachal Pradesh High Court by the Editor of a weekly newspaper named 'Him Ujala' against the cancellation of his accreditation by the state government on the ground of FIR pending against him. The matter was heard by Tarlok Singh Chauhan.
The petitioner claims to be working for 13 years in the field of journalism and have many awards in the field. The government of Himachal Pradesh have not renewed the accreditation of the editor and had also stopped the publications of tender and classified ads in the editor's newspaper for which the editor alleges the government voilating the freedom of press. The petitioner said that all the notices, ads, tenders were the main source of revenue for the publication which are affected by the government's decision. The petetioner also submitted that he has being deprived of facallities which are available to other press and journalists. It was contended that the publication was targeted by the government because the editor has been continuously publishing articles related to corruption and irregularities in the system by the leaders which doesn't go well with the government.
The respondent stated that many FIR are being registered against the editor and many cases are going on in the court based on different charges. They also submitted that on 15th July,2014, the Press Accreditation Committee, which is the final authority according to Rule 4 of H.P. Press Correspondents Accreditation and Recognition Rules, 2002 have suspended the accreditation of the editor till the outcome of the criminal cases going on against him in the court.
The court expressed that Press are the backbone the democracy and have proven to be crucial at important times. With such important place in the democracy, if there own conduct is under scanner, then it need to be cleared and free from all other charges so as to perform its duty towards the people and nation with utmost responsibility. The court also observed that only genuine and credible corrospondents should be given accreditation for which the list should be reviewd and revised.The Court also observed that "disorderly conduct by a journalist besides causing irreparable damage to the institution would also cause huge irreparable loss to the journalism."
The court also gave directions as following-
1)To grant fresh accreditation according to the Rules of 2016.
2) Mandatory recording of reason for rejection of accreditation.
3) only one journalist from one newspaper/publication to be granted accreditation.