New Delhi, June 20: The Centre today told the Liberhan Commission that it could not probe assaults on mediapersons who had gone to Ayodhya to cover the kar seva in 1992.
Union government counsel Lala Ram Gupta contended that the “assault on mediapersons in the present case did not come under the purview of the terms of reference of this commission”, which is inquiring into the “sequences that led to the demolition of the Babri mosque at Ayodhya”.
Gupta, continuing his submissions before the commission, argued that the Justice Sarkaria report on the attacks on mediapersons during the Ayodhya mosque demolition “could not be considered as evidence” before the commission as “neither notices were issued nor any opportunity given to other parties” by Justice Sarkaria.
The Press Council of India had commissioned the Sarkaria report, which said the attacks on media personnel in Ayodhya were “pre-planned” by kar sevaks.
The Centre’s counsel argued that under the Press Council of India Act the council could not go into any matter that is sub judice, hence the report it had commissioned was “contrary to law”.
Gupta contended that there was no restriction on the media moving around freely and reporting the incident in December 1992. Journalists were free to “videograph, take photographs and prepare reports” on the chain of events that culminated in the demolition of the mosque, he said.
The counsel said no kar sevak could impose any restriction on media persons and if it were done by kar sevaks “individually or collectively” it was an “unlawful act”.
Gupta pointed out that only an authority could impose restrictions and not a group of kar sevaks.