Mumbai: Journalists file petition seeking the quashing of media gag order in Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case

Mumbai: In possibly an unprecedented move, nine accredited journalists from print, television channels and online portals have filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court seeking the quashing of an impugned order barring the media from reporting the proceedings of the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.

It is the contention of the petitioners that the said order has become a major road block in the discharge of their duties, to which they are bound by virtue of their occupation. The petition has been filed on the grounds of the impugned order being illegal and not tenable in law. The order violates the principles of an open trial contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, it is pointed out.

The Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case is an ongoing criminal case after the death of Sohrabuddin on November 26, 2005, while he was in police custody.  On a petition filed by the deceased’s brother Ruba-buddin Sheikh, the Supreme Court, by an order dated January 12, 2010, transferred the investigation of the said case to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The latest petition has challenged the court order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Mumbai, as per which all print, electronic and online journalists have been barred from reporting the murder of Sohrabuddin, his wife Kausar Bi and their associate Tulsiram Prajapati. The petitioners are all residents of Mumbai. Aabad Ponda and Abhinav Chandrachud, who will be assisted by Varsha Bhogle and Shailendra Singh, will be representing the petitioners.

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