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LAWYERS TELL MEDIA TO LEAVE COURT ROOM AGAIN IN KERALA

Around 10 journalists who had come to report the trial of the rape-murder of a Dalit law student in April at the Ernakulam district court on Wednesday were asked to leave the court room - as the tiff between lawyers and the media in Kerala continues. The development came a day after the print media in Kerala in an open letter to the Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur published in their respective newspapers pointed out that the action of a section of the lawyers had affected relations between the judiciary and the media in the state.

One of the journalists who was turned out of Ernakulam district court, said: "A group of us, comprising three women journalists and seven male journalists, were in the court. At about 2.30 p.m. a group of lawyers asked us to vacate the courtroom saying 'you have no business to be here'. Soon a court official came to us and told us that there should be no problem here. We said that if the judge asks us to leave, we will, but the lawyers told us that the judge has no role in these matters. Then we decided to leave the court room." Since July 19, there has been a virtual ban on the media by the lawyers in several courts in the state, including the high court.

Every attempt to bury the difference between the two sections, including at the highest level by judges from the Supreme Court and Kerala High Court besides intervention by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has failed to break the deadlock. Representatives of media owners and journalists brought the subject to the attention of President Pranab Mukherjee last month.

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