Taking Suo motu cognizance, a Division bench of High Court of Kerala, comprising of Acting Chief Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Anu Sivaraman directed the Police machinery and Government of the State to impose the following restrictions in view of incidents happened in last few days between Media persons and Lawyers.
(i) The Government of Kerala , State Police Chief and Police Officers under his command shall ensure that there is no assembly or demonstration or collective expression of opinion in the court premises and also in the roads and streets around them.
(ii) Restriction includes usage of public announcement system as well
(iii) These restrictions shall be operated as regards all roads which surround the buildings of the High Court of Kerala as noted above and also all roads leading to a distance of 200 meters from the roads that encircle the High Court buildings.
The directions mandate to ensure functioning of High Court as well as subordinate courts as contemplated under the constitution. Taking note of the happenings of the blockade of road in front of the High Court by the group of alleged media personalities last week the court observed as follows:-“The pivotal functioning of the judicial institutions includes the enforcement of the regime of fundamental rights and other legal rights, including statutory and non –statutory rights of the citizens as well as different stakeholders in the process of governance of this Nation. The dignity doctrine, which is seminal even among the prescriptions in the Preamble to the Constitution, read in conjunction with the equality doctrine and the guaranteed right of equal treatment in the matter of governance of the institutions, stands to advise that access to justice is indefeasible component of existence of any society . This can, in no manner, be belittled by any act, individually or collectively , impairing or tending to impair the appropriate functioning of judicial institutions; the courts.”
The court noted that the police who is in charge of maintenance of law and order should ensure and protect the above rights of the citizen. The court also expressed in strong words in continuance of above as follows:-“time has come for the judiciary of the State of Kerala to speak through its sole mouthpiece i.e judgments delivered by it.”
The court stated that High Court of Kerala ,and buildings under its judicial control is one such institution where there should be fearless access to people. The same shall hence be free from unlawful intrusion or brow beating , by any individual or groups; whether organized or not , the court added. The court nodded in approval in the usage of police power to ensure such protective measures from time to time.
The Registrar General, Mr Ashok Menon has also been directed to take steps to publish the gist of the order in at least two English newspapers and vernacular dailies six in number, having circulation throughout the state of Kerala. The publication expenses would be borne from state funds , without depending on funds allotted for requirements of state judiciary, the order stated.
Image from here.
Read the order here.