Is this journalism? HC slams media for misreporting its comment on Vigilance Chief
- The court did not direct the government to remove Vigilance Chief: HC
- Justice P Ubaid criticised television channels for holding discussions on the court’s observations on VACB’s excess in the context of another case.
- The High Court’s observations against the VACB chief on 29 March had expedited the exit Jacob Thomas from the anti-corruption body.
Kerala High Court on Tuesday clarified that it did not suggest the removal of Jacob Thomas IPS as the Chief of state Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau (VACB) as was reported widely by the media. The court's 'misquoted' comment had led to the early exit of the IPS officer who was asked to go on leave by the state government.
Justice P Ubaid criticised television channels for holding discussions on the court’s observations on VACB’s excess in the context of another case. The judge also warned against reporting the court proceedings and observations in a misleading manner. It would amount to contempt of court, it warned.
The court knows very well to conduct hearing and to produce judgement. Media persons ridiculed the court in television channel discussions, the HC said. "Is this journalism," it quipped.
During the hearing of a petition filed by Benny Abraham, an industrialist from Kottayam, challenging a Vigilance case registered against him, the judge had noted that a "strange situation" of anarchic excess by the VACB in the state which even tried to intervene in an act passed by the legislature.
Sharply criticising the VACB director, the court wondered why the government was not checking the excesses of the Vigilance Director. The judge also asked whether the government was afraid of controlling the Vigilance Chief. Justice Ubaid said on Tuesday that the media misinterpreted the observation and reported that the court asked why the government was not removing the Vigilance Chief.
The High Court’s observations against the VACB chief on 29 March had expedited the exit Jacob Thomas from the anti-corruption body. Even though the government is yet to officially call it a removal, Thomas confirmed that he was asked to go on leave on 1 April.