New Delhi, Apr 5 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has stayed the decision of the Press Council of India (PCI) rejecting a nomination given by the Indian Newspapers Society (INS) for filling up vacancies in its 13th term.

In an interim order, Justice Rajiv Shakdher said that till July 30, no steps will be taken pursuant to the PCI’s March 20 order by which the nomination was rejected.

The court issued notice to the PCI and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and sought their response within three weeks on the INS plea against rejection of nomination of Hormusji N Cama, owner of Mumbai Samachar weekly and a member of the INS, in the category of medium newspapers.

It has also sought the response of Cama on the plea.

“Till the next date of hearing, no steps will be taken pursuant to order dated March 20, 2018 insofar as respondent no.3 (Cama) is concerned,” the court said in its order pronounced on Tuesday.

The plea alleged that the PCI Chairman misread the provisions of the Press Council Act and “wrongly exercised” its power in rejecting the nomination.

Claiming that the decision was “perverse”, the INS said the council’s decision should be set aside as it was “bad, illegal and void”.

According to the Press Council Act, the council shall consist of a Chairman and 28 other members. The Chairman had said that the nomination of the Editors among Working Journalist categories did not contain twice the number of members to be nominated.

The petition said that the Chairman was required to invite the panel of names from notified associations for filling up 20 out of 28 vacancies in the PCI and out of those 20, six were to be filled up from among owners or managers of big, small and medium newspapers.

It said that the PCI rejected the panel of names submitted by the INS by taking the view that it did not contain 12 names for the six vacancies.

“Although the PCI Chairman took the view that the panel was defective as only eight names were provided, yet he purportedly examined the eligibility of each individual name in the panel,” the plea said, adding that the Chairman proceeded to hold that out of the eight names, Cama and Kalyan Barooah were ineligible. Rest of the six were held eligible, it said.

The petition said Cama was a member of the PCI in its 12th term and was seeking nomination to the council in the 13th term.

The INS, which comprises owners of big, medium and small newspapers in India, has sought a direction to the PCI Chairman to recall and set aside the March 20 decision and forbear from taking any steps in furtherance of the decision.

It also sought a direction to the I and B ministry not to take any step in furtherance of the March 20 decision.

The plea said that the PCI be directed to place all the relevant records before the court relating to the council’s decision last month and that it should accept the names submitted by the INS on March 13 and select Cama as per the indicated preference in the category of the medium-size newspapers under the Act.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.