Justice Katju said - don't mess with people from Allahabad

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Allahabad waalon ko koi hadka nahi sakta

We people from Allahabad ( I refuse to call it Prayagraj ) are simple people, but we have one quality : hamein koi hadka nahi sakta ( no one can browbeat us ). To illustrate, let me tell you of an incident which happened in February 2012 when I was the Chairman of the Press Council of India ( after retiring as a Supreme Court Judge )

I had been invited by the then Vice Chancellor of Patna University, Dr Shambhu Nath Singh, to give a talk on press freedom in the University.

Before the function several journalists met me at the residence of the Vice Chancellor, where I was staying, and complained that there was no press freedom in Bihar which had Nitish Kumar as its Chief Minister. They said that a journalist who criticized the Bihar Govt or its Ministers was transferred from Patna to a remote area, obviously due to pressure by the Govt on the management of the newspaper. Govt advertisements would be stopped to a newspaper which published anything critical of the Govt. Other methods would also be used to silence the press, with the result that nothing critical of the Bihar Govt ever appeared in the newspapers of Bihar.

When I reached the Wheeler Senate Hall, where the function was held, I found the Hall jampacked with people —teachers, students, journalists, etc. Apart from the approximately 300-400 persons sitting on chairs, there were over a 100 standing. The Governor of Bihar, the Vice Chancellor of Patna University, and other dignitaries were on the dias.

i began my speech with a general account of the advent of the Fourth Estate in Europe and in India, and then I mentioned that some journalists had met me in Patna and told me that there was no press freedom in Bihar, and I repeated what I had been told.

At this moment a person, who I was informed later was the Principal of Patna College, Lokeshwar Prasad, whose wife was an MLA in the ruling party, got up from his seat and started shouting at the top of his voice that what I was saying was all false.

At this I retorted “ Dekhiye, main Allahabad ka hun. Aap mujhe hadka nahi sakte. Allahabad ke logon ko koi nahi hadka sakta. Aapne ghalat aadmi se panga le liya. Main aapse zyaada zor se chilla sakta hun “
( Listen, I am from Allahabad. You cannot browbeat me. No one can browbeat a person from Allahabad. You have taken cudgels with the wrong person. I can shout louder than you ).

I then said that if the gentleman wanted to contradict me he could have done it in a polite, civil, manner. Maybe my impression was wrong, and he could have given the correct facts, which may have made me change my opinion, as I always have an open mind. But what was this kind of behavior of shouting hysterically ?

When I said this almost all students supported and applauded me, and many said that what I had said was correct.

After the function was over I constituted a 3 member enquiry committee which later submitted a report that indeed there was suppression of the press in Bihar.

So the moral of the story is : don’t mess with people from Allahabad.

(Justice Markandey Katju’s FB post with courtesy)

A meeting with Justice Markandey Katju

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