Written by: Arushi Bansal (Intern)
Edited by: Anubhav Yadav (Content Head & Developer)
Journalists have already been declared as front line warriors in twelve states stated by the PIL filed in Bombay High Court.
A PIL has been filed by a journalist in the Bombay High Court seeking directions to the Government of Maharashtra to designate journalists as essential workers and allow local train travel. This PIL has been filed by The Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh, a journalist association. Sudha Dwivedi, the Advocate through whom the plea has been filed states that journalists have already been declared as front line workers in twelve states and Maharashtra Government’s apathy in doing the same undergo from the maxim of reasonableness.
Be it judicial orders or legislative orders, these laws could reach the ears of the common man on time, because those journalists risk their lives for the service of the nation.
Information publicized by Media comprise of the Government’s policies on travel, vaccination, medical supplies and so on. People of the country became more dependent on journalists and news media for precise details stated by the petition.
Highlighted facts of the petition were that diverse of journalists came from modest backgrounds and reside in outskirts of Mumbai. Now a day’s train travel is restricted and involves only essential services. The association stated that it is incumbent for the journalists to be treated as front line workers and they urge the court to take note of key role journalists have played in the pandemic. The suburban train services play a paramount role in aiding the north-south movement of city’s workforce, enabling inter-district travel, the plea state. The plea, also added that it is desolates because a decision is still not taken on local train travel of journalists notwithstanding a representation to the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackrey in May, 2021.
“Without even thinking of diminishing the importance of the frontline workers, such as health-care, police, clean-up related personnel amongst others, the journalists and media in general, have played equally important role to which one may not turn Nelson’s eye. This must be the reason as to why, to the best of the petitioner’s knowledge, 12 States so far have already declared journalists as ‘frontline workers’
Therefore, the petitioner implore that the hon’ble court may be pleased to direct the respondents to allow the journalists and other staff in the media industry, especially in the city of Mumbai, to avail the suburban train services , popularly known as Mumbai Local Train Services. Journalists have suffered major distress and obstacles while performing their duties because they are not categorised in essential category, the plea said this after government imposes section 144 of the CrPC. Plea also highlighted that “It is now truer so when the common man is bound by severe travel and other restrictions by law is confined to the four walls of his home that he has become ever more reliant on the news/public information reaching him through the media and by journalists”.
But still Maharashtra Government has not taken any action on this matter. All these facts were stated through Public Interest Litigation filed by Mumbai Patrakar Sangh. Despite of making representation before the Chief Minister dated May 21, decision is being delayed. Maharashtra’s former Chief Minister and BJP’s leader of opposition in the Assembly claim that journalist and the whole media industry should be accorded as “frontline workers” opposition to COVID -19 and they should be vaccinated. Local trains are the most affordable mode of transportation which is limited only to the essential services and many of the media persons were dependent on local trains as their transportation, pointed out by the PIL. Unfortunately decision is still pending and journalists are suffering from this.