PILs against media trials in SSR Case: Bombay HC likely to pronounce verdict

Bombay High Court LAW INSIDER IN

Umamageswari Maruthappan

The Bombay High Court is expected to deliver its judgement on the petitions filed against media trial in the Sushant Singh Rajput Case on 18th January 2021.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni will be pronouncing the verdict which they kept in reserve on 6th November 2020.

Earlier, the Bombay High Court had directed media channels to exercise control in matters of publications in relation to this case.

“We urge and expect the media to exercise restraint before publishing or reporting on details of the investigation, and report in such a manner that it does not hamper the investigation,” the court had said.

The then bench comprised Justices A A Sayed and S P Tavade.

Additionally, the Press Council of India had also advised it to restrain itself from interfering with the administration of justice.

Several petitions urging restrictions on media from publishing ambiguous reports regarding the demise of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput were filed before the Bombay High Court.

They contented that the media industry was interfering with the case trials and setting out its own observations which has, in fact, made it difficult for the relevant authorities to carry out effective investigation.

Some petitions even made allegations against few media houses for defaming the Mumbai Police. The pleas have also sought some guidelines from the High Court to regulate media without taking away their freedom of press.

Senior Advocates like Aspi Chinoy and Devdutt Kamat represented the petitioners. “You are no judge or jury to decide who should be investigated or hounded,” Advocate Chinoy said.

The main opponents in this case are the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Broadcasting Associations and the News Channels.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh while advocating for the Ministry said that the power of issuing guidelines rests, not in the Court but, with the legislature and that the Union Government is already engaged in creating such mechanisms.

Secondly, Advocate Arvind Datar while appearing for the News Broadcasting Association (NBA), which is a self-appointed regulatory authority to govern the affairs of the media channels, said that there is no need for judicial intervention and that such self-regulating associations were already accepted by the Apex Court of India.

Several Advocates made submissions on behalf of their respective news channels opposing the contentions of the petitioners and further clarified that they had never crossed the limits of their freedom and had always complied with the policies of the regulating Broadcasting Associations.

Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead in his Bandra (Mumbai) Apartment on 14th June 2021. The death was suspected to be a murder and moreover, the media channels began to crush all the suicidal claims by conducting their own trials.

This led to a huge blow in the Bollywood industry which was inculpated for encouraging nepotism and favoritism. The news channels are alleged to have been active participants in spreading such sceptical information.

Related Post