Remove Katju as PCI chief, say activists

Lucknow, April 15 (IANS) Social activists here Monday wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking the removal of Press Council of India (PCI) chairman Markandey Katju.

Activists Nutan Thakur and Devendra Dixit said since Katju “was defending many convicts of extremely serious offences”, he should be immediately removed from his post.

They said that the PCI chairman is paid a salary by the central government and is a public servant.

“Katju seems to be regularly misusing his position to take up causes of convicts of extremely heinous anti-national, terrorism related offences, confirmed even by the Supreme Court,” the petition stated.

The petitioners told IANS that while Katju had a right to expression, being a public servant a certain degree of restraint was expected from him.

“His conduct is even more serious because he is a former Supreme Court judge and is often seen using the title Justice before his name,” Thakur said.

The PCI website and Katju’s personal blog Satyam Bruyata mention him as “Justice Katju”.

He has been endorsing mercy for Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, accused in a 1993 Delhi blast, which killed nine people and injured 17.

Katju has also been asking for a pardon for actor Sanjay Dutt and Zaibunnisa Kazi, accused in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, which is a “clear misconduct on his part as a public servant”, the petitioners added.

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