Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday came under sharp attack for his government’s controversial circular threatening action against the media for any defamatory news, with Congress and BJP accusing him of being a “hypocrite” and “anti-democratic”.
“When there is criticism of the government, when the wrongdoings of his government are exposed by the media, the Chief Minister is taking objection to that. This shows the anti-democratic attitude of the Chief Minister,” Congress leader P C Chacko said.
Voicing similar views, BJP said while Kejriwal talks about freedom of speech, he wants everyone else’s “throat to be throttled”.
“He talks about unfettered freedom of speech but he wants everybody else’s throat to be throttled. This is the height of hypocrisy,” BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said.
Delhi Government has asked all its officials to lodge a complaint with the Principal Secretary (Home) if they come across any news item which damages the reputation of the Chief Minister or the government, so that further action can be initiated.
According to the circular issued by the Directorate of Information and Publicity Department, if any officer associated with the Delhi government feels that the published or aired news item damages his or the government’s reputation, he should file a complaint with the Principal Secretary (Home).
Ajay Maken, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee President, said it was “weird” that Kejriwal is doing everything opposite of what he used to say before elections.
Stressing that this is not happening for the first time, Maken said, “As soon as his party came to power, he had stopped media’s entry in the building (Secretariat). He should not have a problem with the media as his party came to power with their help”.
Criticising Kejriwal, Congress leader Chacko said he was being “exposed” on many issues and the AAP government was not functioning as a government from the very first day as internal dissensions marred its functioning.
“The people in responsible positions should be patient enough to listen to the criticism and also, it indicates that there is wrongdoing, corruption, lack of coordination in the government,” he said.
According to the circular, if as per the opinion of the Director (prosecution), offence of defamation is made out, the Principal Secretary will refer the matter to the Law Department for examining the matter and obtain the sanction of under section 199(4) of the CrPc.
After sanction of the government is obtained, the home department will forward the case to the public prosecutor for making a complaint under Section 199(2) of the CrPc.
BJP had last night also criticised Kejriwal over the circular.
It had said the circular is the “result of repeated exposures by media of the Kejriwal government’s misdeeds”.
This is another proof of “anarchist, authoritarian approach” of the Arvind Kejriwal government, the party had said.