Kochi: ‘Without press, judiciary would be ineffective’ | Azad Times

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Azad Times News Desk.

Kochi: Media plays a key role in communicating to the public the court’s judgements and orders, Kerala High Court judge Devan Ramachandran has said.

Without the press, the judiciary would be ineffective in reaching out to the  public, as its judgments would only be seen in law journals, he added.

“I rely on the press to know the pulse of the people and I always say, our orders and judgments are worthless unless people know about it. In case the press boycotts the judiciary or refuses to report, our judgments will only remain in the reporting journals. All the judgments that are being talked about got attention because of the press. This is the importance of the press. When the public opinion is aroused, we know we are within the law. The same applies to the legislature and executive,” said Ramachandran.

The HC judge was speaking on the “Importance of Press in Democratic India” at the inauguration of the Kozhikode Press Club’s Golden Jubilee function.

Referring to virtual courts which stemmed from the Covid-19 pandemic which has further opened up courtrooms, the judge said that the close scrutiny by the press and the public have made judges’ jobs harder.

“When I am in court and I do my job, I do not really know what people want from me as I sit in isolation. I only get to know if I am doing my job well when the press reports my observations and orders. Now, we have the hybrid mode thanks to Covid. Sometimes bad things create good things also. Covid is one of the bad things but it has led to new developments. Now, we can watch court proceedings online and offline. This creates a lot of openness and makes it even more difficult for us. There is a complete eye of the press and people on us. This is where the press does its job and tells me if I am doing a good job,” added Ramachandran who is known for his straight talk.

He cautioned against banning or curtailing press freedom, pointing to the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, which spurred the Arab Spring, as a prime example.

“Every news that you carry, every information that you report, you are creating a dialogue. The importance of dialogue cannot be understood. Imagine a situation, where the press is banned or quarantined, it will be a case where we have no idea what we want and the executive will have no idea what the public wants. This will give rise to revolts and revolutions. If you see, the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, how that developed as the people could not reflect their views,” said Ramachandran.

The press itself is democracy and the stability of the nation itself stands on the fourth pillar.

“No stool with three legs can be stable, we need the fourth leg, the press. It is the leg which stabilises the entire system. This is the importance of press, sometimes we don’t really recognise much. The stability of a nation like India depends on the press- this is why I say press itself is a democracy,” emphasised the judge.

Incidentally, India is ranked at 150 out of 180 nations in the most recent Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders.

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