BANGALORE, March 2 (IANS): Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju condemned Friday's attack on mediapersons by lawyers here.
"I am deeply distressed that some lawyers took the law into their own hands and physically attacked mediapersons. This is highly objectionable and condemnable," he said in a statement here.
Katju, a former Supreme Court judge, said lawyers "are supposed to uphold the law and not become law breakers, which they appear to have done".
He said the journalists were only covering the appearance in the court of former Karnataka minister and mining magnate G. Janardhan Reddy "which they have every right to do as freedom of the press is a guaranteed right under Article 19(1)(a) of the constitution.
"The lawyers had no business and no right to prevent media persons from covering the event," he said.
Katju said the lawyers "who have committed this outrage deserve severe punishment and no leniency should be shown to them as they appear to have violated their solemn duty as officers of the court.
"I have spoken on telephone to some lawyers of Bangalore who claimed it was media persons who attacked the lawyers, and not vice versa.
"But I do not believe this version since the TV footage I have seen only shows media persons with injuries and no lawyers with injuries."