Mathai Manjooran: The Kerala newspaper Editor who refused to pay a Rs 100 fine and opted to be jailed for alleged contempt of court 61 years ago

On the day of reckoning for advocate Prashant Bhushan before the Supreme Court of India, The Telegraph has a fine story of an Editor in Kerala who refused to buckle in and opted to spend a month in jail for alleged contempt of court, 61 years ago.

Mathai Manjooran was Editor of the Malayalam daily Kerala Prakasham. He and the paper’s printer and publisher Sudhakaran were held guilty of contempt by the Kerala high court, for publishing a news report on the death of six Congress workers at the hands of the ruling Communists.

They refused to pay the Rs 100 fine, and were sent to the Thrissur jail.

“Did the punishment serve its purpose? It doesn’t appear so from the reception Manjooran received when he was freed.

“His friends and supporters organised a well-attended felicitation at Swaraj Round, a 2km roundabout in the heart of Thrissur and around 4km from the jail.

“They later took him for similar events in Manjooran’s (home district) Ernakulam and Kottayam, where he gave fiery speeches against the administration,” said A. Jayasankar, a lawyer who appears on television channels in Kerala as a commentator.

Read the full report: When prison was more precious than Rs 100

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