Controversial former central vigilance commissioner (CVC) P.J. Thomas Tuesday moved the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe into the “distorted reporting” by the media of the court proceedings against him.
Thomas, whose appointment as the head of the Central Vigilance Commission was set aside by the apex court, said that “distorted” reporting and telecasting of the court proceedings that were “prejudicial” to his interest should be inquired into.
The former CVC appealed to the court to initiate contempt proceedings against all those found guilty of publishing or telecasting the distorted version of the court proceedings while it heard a petition by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) challenging his appointment on the grounds of a criminal case against him in Kerala relating to the import of palm oil at inflated rates.
Thomas said that there were 783,000 results on the internet describing him as “tainted” based on media reports.
He went on to ask who would take “corrective steps for damage control”.
He asked what the remedies available to him were “when billions of people who might have gone through the news sensationalised by the media are believing that the applicant (Thomas) is tainted based on distorted reporting of the court proceedings”.
An apex court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice K.S. Panickar Radhakrishnman and Justice Swatantar Kumar had March 3 quashed Thomas’ appointment as the head of the Central Vigilance Commission.
Thomas said that a news channel had led the distorted campaign against him, which was followed by other news channels and media publications. He has asked the court to frame guidelines on media reporting of court proceedings.
“A situation has come in which, the applicant, inspite of his honesty, integrity and dedicated service to the country, is labelled as a tainted person, and the allegation has gone to the extent that he was shown as a person who shamed India, seriously affecting the reputation and credibility of the applicant, including his right to life,” Thomas told the court in his application.
Refering to the apex court verdict of March 3, Thomas said that the court had not heard him “effectively and properly” and his “merit and eligibility” for selection as CVC was not mentioned anywhere in the judgment.
Thomas said that he was told by his counsel that during the course of the hearing, the court had said that it was more concerned with the future appointments of the CVC.
Targeting senior counsel Prashant Bhushan for leading the charge against him, Thomas said that there was nothing in the records of the case available with the court to show that the CPIL had given him any authority to appear on its behalf.