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Media, Judiciary are main pillars of democracy; India has become the most respectable country in world: Chief Justice

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Ashwani, Satnam, Amogh Rohmetra win Prof RK Chhibber-PCJ Journalism Awards


JAMMU: The Chief Justice of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh Justice N. Kotiswar Singh on Wednesday presented the Prof R.K. Chhibber Memorial Trust-Press Club of Jammu Journalism Awards to former The Indian Express bureau chief of Himachal Pradesh Ashwani Sharma, Senior Correspondent of Dainik Jagran Satnam Singh and Correspondent of ThePrint website Amogh Rohmetra.
Each awardee received a cheque for Rs 25,000 and a memento.
The awards were presented at a function organised by the Prof. R.K. Chhibber Memorial Trust here on Wednesday at the Press Club of Jammu.
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 Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, former minister and senior National Conference leader Ajay Sadhotra, senior BJP leader Devender Rana, ex-MLC Naresh Gupta, head of Department of Cardiology Dr Sushil Sharma, 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.
Speaking after presenting the awards, Chief Justice N. Kotiswar Singh congratulated the winners. He also applauded the Prof RK Chhibber Memorial Trust for recognising the hard work of the journalists and for establishing the awards.
The media, he said, is a vital organ and has since independence played an extremely crucial role in sustaining and strengthening democracy.
He said despite hardships and challenges, including attempts by a neighouring 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, he said.
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.
The Chief Justice said the image of India was on the rise across the world and the strong position of the country was visible during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“At a time when most countries are unable to take a clear stand, India has played a very significant role in this war. That shows how, in recent years, we have emerged as a nation that has more power than earlier times,” he said.
Sushil Chhibber, Managing Trustee of Prof R.K. Chhibber Memorial Trust said free media is the life-blood of democracy and it was for this reason that good work by hardworking journalists must be supported and applauded. She said from next year onwards, the Trust was planning to include one more award category.
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.
“His track record as an eminent lawyer before he became a judge, one where he did a lot of pro-bono work and also ensured that his fees didn’t ever take him out of reach for the poor litigants, speaks much about his idea of jurisprudence. He is also someone who has led the way in introduction and popularising information and communication technology in court work, thus ensuring swifter justice delivery system,” Chhibber said.
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.

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