New Delhi: Condemning the attack on media persons in Bangalore, Press Council Chairman Justice Markandey Katju on Friday said that the advocates who have committed the "outrage" deserve "severe punishment in accordance with law".

"I am deeply distressed that some lawyers of Bangalore today took the law into their own hands and physically attacked media persons. This is highly objectionable and condemnable," he said in a statement here.

Observing that the lawyers had "no business and no right" to prevent media persons from covering the event, Katju said "no leniency should be shown" to the advocates "as they appear to have violated their solemn duty as Officers of the Court".

"Lawyers are supposed to uphold the law and not become law breakers, which they appear to have done. ...In my opinion those lawyers who have committed this outrage deserve severe punishment in accordance with law," he said.

The former Supreme Court Judge said he had spoken on telephone to some lawyers of Bangalore "who claimed that it was media persons who attacked the lawyers, and not vice-versa."

"But I do not believe this version since the TV footages I have seen only show media persons with injuries and no lawyers with injuries," Katju said.

"To the best of my knowledge the media persons were only covering the event of the appearance in court of Janardhana Reddy, which they have every right to do as Freedom of the Press is a guaranteed right under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution," he said.

The trouble erupted when a section of lawyers assaulted media persons who were in the court complex to cover former Karnataka minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy's appearance before a CBI court in an illegal mining case.

Police in Bangalore had to fired teargas shells and used batons to quell violent crowds of advocates, who pelted stones and attacked media persons and police in the city civil court premises, leaving several of them injured including a DCP.

(Agencies)