Court dismisses plea on citizenship criteria for newspaper editors

New Delhi, Dec 17 : The Delhi High Court Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking that Indian citizenship should be the "pre-requisite qualification" for a person to be appointed as the editor of a publication in the country, as the issue was before parliament.

A division bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and V.K. Rao rejected the plea of Bharatiya Janata Party Subramanian Swamy, saying: "The issue is under consideration and pending before the parliament and court will not interfere into it."

Swamy moved the court seeking direction to the central government to rectify a lacuna in the Press and Registration of Books Act regarding the definition of editor.

The court in its order said: "It may be true that even the legislature has so opined evidenced by the fact that the Press and Registration of Books and Publication Bill, 2011 which has been cleared by the Select Committee and is pending before parliament has suggested amendment to the act by defining editor to mean a person who is not only an ordinary resident in India but is also a citizen of India."

"But it is for the legislature to consider the bill at the floor of the House and not for the court to legislate," it said, adding its hope that parliament would find some time to consider the pending bil.

"We dismiss the writ petition declining relief as prayed for," the bench added.

The petitioner had argued that the foreign direct investment policy of the Indian government, in the domain of publications, allows 74 percent stake with the precondition that in the print media, at least three-fourth of the board of a print media company must be Indians and all key editorial posts must also lie with resident Indians.

--IANS (Posted on 17-12-2013)

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