NEW DELHI, April 27 - The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre in a petition against all media organisations that have terminated employees in the wake of the nationwide lockdown over COVID-19 pandemic.
Admitting a petition against media organisations submitted by media bodies, a bench of Justices NV Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and BR Gavai expressed concern over termination of employees amid the lockdown, saying that the matter required consideration.
The court also issued notices to Indian Newspaper Society and News Broadcasters Association, besides the Union government, giving them two weeks� time to file reply.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves drew attention of the bench to the incessant termination of journalists in media organisations even as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that notices be issued and a copy be supplied to the Centre.
�Some serious issues have been raised. It requires a hearing. Other unions also saying this. The question is, if business does not start, how long will people sustain. This issue needs hearing,� the bench observed.
Later, the three petitioners � National Alliance of Journalists (NAJ), the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) and the Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists (BUJ) � in a statement said they had sought immediate suspension of all terminations, resignations, wage deductions and directions to go on leave without pay that have taken place in the media after the announcement of the nationwide lockdown.
A spokesman of the NAJ told this newspaper that there were some issues with the managements, which the government should look into. The Indian Newspaper Society has three specific demands, including import duty exemption for newsprint, a two-year exemption from taxation; and an increase of 50 per cent in the rates for government advertisements.