Media, Judiciary key pillars of democracy: Justice Kotiswar Singh

Jammu,  The Chief Justice of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh Justice N. Kotiswar Singh on Wednesday said that the media is a vital organ and has since independence played an extremely crucial role in sustaining and strengthening democracy.

“Despite hardships and challenges, including attempts by a neighbouring country to foment violence in J&K, it was appreciable that journalists continue to perform their role in a stellar manner. They have continued to speak truth to power,” said Justice Singh speaking at the Awards for Journalism function organised by Prof R K Chhibber Memorial Trust in collaboration with Press Club of Jammu.

The Indian Express bureau chief of Himachal Pradesh Ashwani Sharma, Senior Correspondent of Dainik Jagran, Satnam Singh and Correspondent of The Print website Amogh Rohmetra were presented the awards with a cheque for Rs 25,000 each and a momento.

Justice Singh congratulated the winners and applauded the Prof R K Chhibber Memorial Trust for recognising the hard work of the journalists and for establishing the awards.

He said the duty of the Press was not only dissemination of news but also of ideas, to put forth the problems of the society.

He said since he hailed from a state that was in many ways similar to the erstwhile state of J&K, he understood the issues faced by the people here.

“I can fully understand and appreciate the problems faced by the people here. It has always been my understanding that the judiciary has to fulfil its constitutional obligation to give speedy justice to the poor and the marginalised,” Chief Justice Singh said.

He said it doesn’t need to be stressed that journalists must remain detached, objective and, above all, free from political biases while writing on sensitive issues and matters of public importance.

“In these times when fake news and disinformation abound, Journalists must always remember that, whatever be the reason, truth can’t ever be allowed to become a casualty when they perform their duty. There are no short-cuts to good journalism,” he said.

He said while the electronic and the social media are growing, the print media has played a more responsible role in chronicling the Indian development story, especially since it couldn’t afford to go wrong on facts.

Advocate Ved Bhushan Gupta, Secretary of the Prof R.K. Chhibber Memorial Trust, said the best tribute to Prof Chhibber would be to do our respective jobs with honesty and sincerity.

In his address, Maneesh Chhibber said as a judge, Chief Justice N. Kotiswar Singh enjoys a stellar reputation of somebody who is a firm believer in the majesty of the laws, one who is very pro-poor and has been known to go the extra mile for the poor and the downtrodden.

Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, he said, couldn’t have got a better person to head the legal system.

Advocate Anshuja Sharma-Tak was the master of the ceremony.

Besides, Justice Vinod Chatterji-Koul, Justice Rahul Bharti and Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal, J&K Advocate General D C Raina, Deputy Solicitor General Vishal Sharma, J&K High Court Bar Association, Jammu, president, Vikram Sharma, senior advocate M K Bhardwaj, Press Club of Jammu President Sanjeev Pargal, former Presidents of the Press Club of Jammu Manu Srivatsa and Ashwani Kumar, former J&K Chief Secretary BR Sharma and several others were present and leaders from different political parties were also present on the occasion.