The Press Council of India (PCI) on Tuesday issued a show-cause notice to the editor of The Telegraph for “violation of journalistic norms” over its headline “Kovind, not Covid, did it” for a story on former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi’s nomination to the Rajya Sabha.
In a press release, PCI said its chairman Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad noted “with concern the satirical use” of the name of President Ram Nath Kovind in The Telegraph’s headline for its front page issue of 17 March, 2020.
The council said it was of the opinion that “satirical comments, ridiculing and denigrating the first citizen of the country is uncalled for and beyond the call of fair journalistic comment”.
In its front-page story written by a “special correspondent” on Tuesday, The Telegraph said “Rafale-Ayodhya judge Gogoi” has been named for Rajya Sabha. Elaborating, it said:
“Justice Gogoi had headed the Supreme Court benches that awarded the disputed Ayodhya site to Hindus to build a Ram temple and declined a plea to probe the Rafale fighter plane deal. Justice Gogoi had also publicly defended the exercise for the National Register of Citizens in Assam.”
The copy went on to talk about how the Narendra Modi government has made similar moves in the past and gave an example of former Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam.
Justice Gogoi on Tuesday defended his decision to accept the nomination, saying he wants the legislature and judiciary to work together for nation-building.
He, however said that he will speak in detail about the issue after taking oath as a member of the Rajya Sabha.