BACKGROUND OF THE CASE
- Considering that 12 states have declared journalists as frontline workers, The Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh, a journalist association, has filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court seeking directions from the Maharashtra Government to do the same.
- It prays before them to categorise them as essential workers and travel in Mumbai local trains.
THE PETITIONER COUNSEL
- The present plea was filed through Advocate Sudha Dwivedi.
- He has also highlighted that many journalists come from modest backgrounds and live in Mumbai's suburbs.
- The plea filed by the journalists' union urges the Maharashtra Government to take into consideration declaring the journalists and other media personnel as frontline workers.
- It also states that after Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was imposed by the government, the journalists had to suffer severe hardships and hindrances in performing their duties as they were excluded from the category within an essential category.
- Further, it alleges that, since the outbreak of COVID-19, gathering vital news and disseminating it to people has become essential.
- The plea also highlighted that while the common man is bound by law to severe travel and other restrictions inside the four walls of his home that he has become ever more reliant on the news/ public information which is reaching him through the media and by journalists.
- The journalists have played a significant role in making "authentic information" reached citizens through media.
- In a city like Mumbai, where most professionals in the media fraternity rely upon local trains as an affordable mode of transport and the suburban train services that play a vital role in facilitating the north-south movement of the city's workforce, enabling inter-district travel, allowing it to be used only by those who are engaged in essential services, is causing the problem for others.
- In May 2021, a representation had been addressed to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray making the same request but there was no response to the same, which compelled the petitioner to file the current petition.
- They have sincerely requested not to turn Nelson's eye to the works of journalists.
Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure: This states that law empowers the magistrate of any state or union territory in India to pass an order to prohibit the gathering of four or more people in a specific area. This law can be imposed against private individual or public in general in urgent cases which causes nuisance or any apprehended danger of some event which has the potential to cause trouble or any damage to human life or property.
DO YOU THINK THEY SHOULD BE ALLOWED?