Calcutta HC: Sensationalism is anathema to responsible and responsive journalism


The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday while dealing with a plea seeking the strict enforcement of Section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, observes ‘sensationalism is anathema to responsible and responsive journalism.’

The observation was made by a Bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee while hearing the case of Durga Pada Mallick v. Election Commission of India & Others.

According to the Section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951;

“No person shall display to the public any election matter by means of cinematograph television or other similar apparatus in any polling area during the period of forty-eight hours ending with the hour fixed for the conclusion of the poll for any election in that polling area.”

The petitioner had raised concern that amid the West Bengal Assembly elections, the said provision may be violated by media and publishing houses.

The Court expressed confidence that the concerned authorities would ensure the strict obedience of the law

The Court said, “We may put on record that sensationalism is anathema to responsible and responsive journalism. Print and audio-visual media could be proactive but has to be sensitive. This is what is meant in the truest sense by the oft mentioned term ‘fourth estate’.”

Senior Counsel Rakesh Dwivedi, who appeared for the Election Commission of India, submitted before the Court that canvassing and election rallies have been stopped by the Commission since the last phase of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly election is scheduled to be held on April 29 (Thursday).

The Commission further said that there is no reason to apprehend any breach of Section 126 of the Representation of People Act.

“We record this submission and direct that the authorities concerned shall strictly enforce the aforesaid provision of law”, the Court added.

Related Post