September 26, 2021

Foreigners Able to Edit Indian Newspapers

Subramanian-Swamy1201The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to intervene on a PIL seeking Indian citizenship should be the “pre-requisite qualification” for a person to be appointed as the editor of a publication in the country. The HC said the issue must be settled by Parliament and hoped it will find time to take it up for discussion.

A division bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and VK Rao rejected the plea of BJP’s Subramanian Swamy. “Hoping that Parliament would find some time to consider the Press and Registration of Books and Publication Bill, 2011, which is pending consideration now for over two years, we dismiss the writ petition declining relief as prayed for,” the court said.

Swamy had approached HC seeking a direction to the central government to rectify a lacuna in the Press and Registration of Books Act regarding the definition of editor. But the HC said it is not for the judiciary to wade into the debate. “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.

Swamy had argued that the foreign direct investment policy of the Indian government, in the domain of publications, allows 74% 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.

Denisha Sahadevan


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