The Press Council of India on Tuesday issued a show-cause notice to the editor of The Telegraph for its frontpage headline for the news report about former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi’s nomination to the Rajya Sabha.
The council said the headline violated the Norms of Journalistic Conduct. It said that the council was of the view that “satirical comments ridiculing and denigrating the first citizen of the country is uncalled for and beyond the call for fair journalistic comment”.
President Ram Nath Kovind had nominated Gogoi to the Upper House of Parliament on Monday. In its frontpage headline on Tuesday, The Telegraph said, “Kovind, not Covid, did it” – a reference to the raging COVID-19 global pandemic.
The accompanying article described Gogoi as the “Rafale-Ayodhya judge”. Gogoi had headed benches that gave verdicts in the Ayodhya land dispute case as well as on petitions challenging the government’s Rafale deal with France. Both verdicts were seen as favourable to the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled government.
The Centre has been criticised for nominating Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha. Gogoi said on Tuesday that his presence in Parliament will “be an opportunity to project the views of the judiciary before the legislative and vice versa”.
Two retired Supreme Court judges – Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph – on Tuesday criticised Gogoi’s nomination. Opposition parties, too, attacked the government for the decision, which came just four months after Gogoi retired from the top court.