4 journalist condemned for contempt of court

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New Delhi, Sept. 21: The Delhi High Court today sentenced four senior journalists of the Mid-Day (tabloid) to four months imprisonment for contempt of court for publishing articles against former Chief Justice of India Y. K. Sabharwal.

Delivering the verdict, a Bench comprising Justices R S Sodhi and B N Chaturvedi said: "We feel, in this peculiar case, the contemnors have tarnished the image of the Highest Court, the sentence of four months' imprisonment would serve the justice."

The court, however, directed that they be release on bail in view of the Supreme Court order, asking it to grant them bail after pronouncement of sentence.

The court ordered Resident Editor Vitusha Oberoi, then Publisher S K Akhtar, Cartoonist Irfaan Khan, and Principal Correspondent M K Tayal to furnish a personal bond of 10,000 rupees each and two sureties of the same amount for the bail. Earlier, the High Court, on September 11 had held them guilty.

“There is sufficient material to hold them guilty of contempt of court. The Supreme Court judgments have laid down a 'Lakshman Rekha", which the publication has crossed," the Bench said.

On August 20, the court had reserved its judgement in the contempt case against the tabloid for a news report alleging that Sabharwal's sons had ties with mall developers who benefited from the sealing drive during his tenure in office.

Taking suo-motu cognisance of the articles published in the tabloid, the High Court on May 18 had issued notices to its editor, reporter and publisher. Later, notice was also issued to its cartoonist for making a "caricature" of Sabharwal.


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