Citation: Naresh Shridhar Mirajkar Vs State of Maharashtra 1966 SCR (3) 744
Date of Judgment: 03/03/1966
Equivalent Citation: 1967 AIR, 1 1966 SCR (3) 744
Case type: Writ Petition
Petitioner: Naresh Shridhar Mirajkar
Respondent: State of Maharashtra
Bench: Hon’ble Chief Justice P.B. Gajendragadkar , Hon’ble Justice A.K. Sarkar , Hon’ble Justice K.N. Wanchoo, Hon’ble Justice M. Hidayatullah , Hon’ble Justice J.C. Shah , Hon’ble Justice J.R. Mudholkar ,Hon’ble Justice S.M. Sikri, Hon’ble Justice R.S. Bachawat , Hon’ble Justice VS Ramaswami,
Court: Supreme court of India
- Constitution of India; Article 14, 19 (1), 32, 136, 215, 226
- Sakal Papers (P) Ltd., And Others Vs the Union of India 1962 AIR 305, 1962 SCR (3) 842,
- A.K. Gopalan Vs the State of Madras and Union of India, 1950 AIR 27, 1950 SCR 88,
- Ram Singh and Ors. Vs The State of Delhi and Anr AIR 1951 SC 270, 1951 2 SCR 451,
- Budhan Choudhry and Other Vs the State of Bihar 1955 AIR 191, 1955 SCR (1)1045
- A China Cotton Exporters was an organization whose Mr. Thackersey was a partner who had obtained a licences for import of art silk yarn on a condition that the similar would be vended to handloom weavers only because it was done to only safeguard that they might sell the silk yarn within the black market with a view to grasp higher profits, three bogus handloom factories were also formed on the paper.
- Bhaichand G. Goda was assumed to be the guarantor in respect of the transactions which was mentioned within the suits and was a defence witness within the libel suit. The claims made by Mr. Goda against Mr. Thackersay in an affidavit were published within the paper ‘Blitz’ edited by Mr. R. K. Karanjia, one in all the parties within the initial libel suit under article “Scandal Bigger than Mundhra”.
- Bhaichand Goda who was called as defence witness by Mr. Karanjia. within the witness-box, Mr. Goda contrived and he therefore made complete ignorance of the said transactions and under the protection which was given to him by the learned Judge who was trying the action, he rebutted all allegations that he had made against Mr. Thackersey’s concern.
He also stated that the publication within the press of his earlier evidence had caused loss to him in business; then , he desired that the evidence which he had been recalled to supply should not be published within the papers. When this request was made by Mr. Goda to the court, arguments were addressed before the Judge and he orally stated that the evidence of Mr. Goda shouldn’t be published.
- The Judge then later told the counsel for Mr. Karanjia that ‘Blitz’ should be told to not publish reports of Mr. Goda’s evidence. Mr. Karanjia had also commended before the Judge that the basic principle within the administration of justice which must be receptive the general public and challenged the correctness of the order and also on the opposite hand recommended to the Judge that he should pass a written order also for forbidding publication of Mr. Goda’s evidence.
- The Judge, nevertheless, disallowed Mr. Karanjia’s arguments and he stated that he had already made an oral order for the grim of such publication, which no written order was even necessary. He also stated that he anticipated that his oral order would be obeyed. The petitioner felt aggrieved by the said oral order lapsed the supreme court Justice and moved the Bombay supreme court by a Writ Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.
- However, this petition was, dismissed by a Division Bench of the said judicature on the explanations that the disputed order was a judicial order of the court which isn’t agreeable to a writ which is provided under Article 226.
- The Petitioner later moved the Supreme Court under Article 32 for the enforcement of his fundamental rights under Article19(1) (a) and (g) of the Constitution.
- Whether the High Court had Inherent power to pass the impugned order?
- Whether the impugned order violate the basic rights of the petitioners under Article 19(1) (a), (d) and (g)?
- If it does, is it amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 32 (2)?
Contention of Petitioner:
The Counsel of the Petitioner contended that:
- The Petitioners challenged the validity of the impugned order on several grounds. They urge that the basic rights of citizens guaranteed by Article 19(1) are absolute,’ except to the extent that they’re restricted by reasonable restrictions imposed by law within the constraints prescribed by clauses (2) to (6) of Article 19.
- The Counsel also alleged that the restriction imposed within the interest of the witness cannot be said to be justified under Article 19(2), on passing of the impugned order, the learned Judge had exceeded his jurisdiction. if the impugned order infringes their fundamental rights under Article 19(1) which it’s not saved by any of the provisions contained in clauses (2) to (6). to those Petitions, the State of Maharashtra and Bhaichand Goda are impleaded by the respondents respectively.
- Mr. Setalvad the learned counsel argued that, the Fundamental rights of the citizens in Part III are very wide in their scope, if a private citizen contravenes the basic rights of another citizen, the aggrieved citizen can go to the court.
- Mr. Setalvad referred us to the basic rights guaranteed by Articles 17, 23 and 24. Article 17 abolishes ‘untouchability’. If in spite of the abolition of ‘untouchability’ by constitutional provision included partially III, any private shop-keeper, for example, purports to enforce untouchability against a Harijan citizen, the said citizen would be entitled to move this Court for a correct order under Article 32(1) & (2).
- Similar is that the position in reference to fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 23 and 24. Article 23 prohibits traffic in human beings and compelled labour, whereas Article 24 prohibits employment of youngsters to figure in any factory or mine or their engagement in the other hazardous employment.
- Mr. Setalvad argues that the said orders cannot claim immunity from being challenged under Article 32, because a number of the elemental rights guaranteed are clearly directed against courts. In support of this contention, he relies on the elemental rights guaranteed by Article 20(1) & (2), Article 21, and Article 22(1). These Articles check with protection in respect of conviction for offences, protection of life and private liberty, and protection against arrest and detention in certain cases, respectively.
- Mr. Setalvad urged to the court while taking reference of the case Budhan Choudhry and others Vs the State of Bihar, that judicial orders supported exercise of judicial discretion may contravene Article 14 and thereby become invalid.
- He contended that even as a judicial order, it would become invalid by reason of the very fact.
- The basis of Mr. Setalvad’s argument is that the impugned order isn’t an order inter-parties, because it affects the elemental rights
Contention of Respondent:
The Counsel of the Respondent Contended that:
- Learned counsel of the Respondent contended that, the learned Judge has made an impugned order in the exercise of his general and inherent powers, and he was justified in doing so as, the excessive publicity associated with the publication of Mr. Goda’s evidence would have caused annoyance to the witness or the parties, and could have resulted in a failure of justice.
- They further argue that it is up to the judge hearing the case to decide whether such publication should be prohibited in the interests of the administration of justice.
- Respondent No. 1 claimed that the impugned order does not violate the petitioners’ basic rights under Article 19(1), and that it is protected under Article 19(2).
- It was also contended that, as a superior Court of Record, the High Court has the authority to decide questions of its own jurisdiction, and that orders such as the impugned order issued by the High Court in the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction are not subject to this Court’s writ jurisdiction under Article 32(2) of the Constitution.
It was stated that, the High Court was competent to pass the impugned orders, but assuming that it exceeded its jurisdiction, the order does not infringe Article 19 (1) (a) of Indian Constitution. It was held that, the High Court has Jurisdiction to decide if it has Jurisdiction to restrain the publication of any document or information relating to the trial of a pending suit or concerning which the suit is brought.
A court of law is a public forum. Through public relations, citizens are convinced that the Court of Justice is impartial and, therefore, it is necessary that the trial be public and that the publication of the judicial report is not restricted. The public builds confidence in the administration of justice. Only in rare exceptional cases may the court hold the hearing behind closed doors or prohibit the publication of the procedural report while the dispute is pending.
The Writ Petitions were not maintainable and were dismissed.
- The order of Mr. Justice Tarkunde of Bombay supreme Court imposing suppression of the reporting of the deposition of Goda was illegal and without jurisdiction.
- It had not been in his power to create such an order on the underside he was moved and further because the order either purports to impose a perpetual ban or leaves the matter unsure, thus placing those anxious with the publication of the report under a virtual sword of Damocles, the order cannot be sustained.
- The rule about reporting of cases in court is that, what takes place in court is public and thus the publication of the proceedings merely enlarges the globe of the court and provides to the trial that added publicity which is favoured by the rule that the trial should be open and public. it’s only the final public is excluded from audience that the privilege of publication also goes because the overall public outside then don’t have any right to induce at second- hand what they cannot obtain within the court itself.
- It was laid down that because the Judge passed no recorded order; the appropriate remedy (in fact the only effective remedy) is to hunt to quash the order by a writ under Article 32 of the Constitution. Under the complete scheme of the Constitution the subordination of High Courts to the Supreme Court isn’t only evident but is logical.
- Justice is that the first objective of the work done in courts; and so, it is common to sometimes have a conflict between the claims of administration of justice itself and specially which is of public trial.
- If the supreme court has the inherent power to hold the trial of a case privately, provided, of course, it had been satisfied that the ends of justice required such a course to be adopted, it would not be difficult to easily accept the argument urged by the Respondent that the ability to hold an endeavor privately must include the ability to hold a district of the trial privately, or to ban excessive publication of a section of the proceedings at such trial.
The Supreme Court of India’s decision that the Supreme Court does not have the authority to issue a writ of certiorari to a High Court or another bench of the same Court under Article 32 unless the judgement is ultra-vires has become a well-established principle of Indian law. The majority conclusion was correct in this case because learned judges only issue orders after careful study, and an aggrieved party always has the option of appealing. As a result, the issue of issuing a writ of certiorari only arises in exceptional circumstances.
The majority opinion of the Supreme Court that prohibiting the publication of facts and evidence from an ongoing trial in the media does not violate the fundamental right to freedom of speech is correct, as evidenced by later legislation and case law. Because a fair trial and justice are so important, anything that may hinder or interfere with the process of justice should not be considered a contempt of court, as Article 19(2) also states. Given the current conditions of the media trial in the Sushant Singh Rajput case, the scope of this needs to be expanded.
Drafted by: Bharti Verma, Chanderprabhu Jain College of Higher Studies and School of Law
Edited by: Aashima Kakkar, Associate Editor, Law Insider
Published On: October 19, 2021 at 15:08 IST