Free Press Journal

Gangrape documentary: HC refuses urgent hearing on PIL to lift ban


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today refused to give urgent hearing to a PIL seeking lifting of the ban on telecast of a controversial documentary featuring an interview of one of the four convicts in the December 16 gangrape case. A bench of justices B D Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru said there is no so urgency in the matter and it will be heard on Wednesday (March 11).

“It will be listed on Wednesday. Nothing so important that it needs to be heard today,” the court said. The court’s response came after two law students — Arun Menon and Kritika Padode — in their public interest litigation (PIL) sought urgent hearing, saying the ban on the documentary is a clear violation of their fundamental rights under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.

The duo approached the high court after a trial court on March 4 had banned until further orders the broadcast of the interview of December 16, 2012 gangrape convict Mukesh Singh, which was allegedly conducted in July 2013 inside Tihar jail here. Earlier, a trial court had restrained the media from broadcasting or publishing the interview of Mukesh Singh after the Delhi police moved court for a restraining order against his interview. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has also issued an advisory to all television channels to not broadcast the documentary on the victim.

The government has also sought an explanation from Tihar jail authorities over how the convict was interviewed while being in judicial custody. A similar petition was filed last week, by a law student, who has sought lifting of the ban on the ground that it is “nothing but a honest look at the mind and mindset of one of the convicted rapists of the young woman”. Today’s plea, which was mentioned before the bench by advocate Naman Joshi also sought direction to the Bar Council of India to expedite action against the two lawyer — advocate A P Singh and M L Sharma — who had allegedly made derogatory anti-women remarks in the documentary.