Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court
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Opposing the need for a "statutory body or guidelines" to regulate TV news media, the Union government on Friday reiterated before the Bombay High Court that the existing mechanism for regulation of broadcast media was apt and there were no legal infirmities in it.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni, meanwhile closed the matter for judgment.

Notably, the bench heard for over a month, a clutch of petitions seeking regulation of TV news media, especially due to its insensitive coverage of the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. The petitions have also highlighted the practice of parallel trial conducted by the media apart from the original investigations by independent probe agencies.

On Friday, when the matter was called out for hearing, additional solicitor general Anil Singh for the Union, told the bench that there was no legal void in the existing mechanism for regulation of TV media.

"The existing mechanism is apt. An aggrieved person can file a complaint with the NBSA. And despite all this, if the grievance isn't resolved then the HC has jurisdiction to consider the same under the Contempt of Courts act," the ASG submitted.

Pertinently, these submissions were in response to a series of queries raised by the judges in an earlier hearing of the matter. One of the queries put forth was whether the HC had jurisdiction to lay down fresh guidelines to regulate the media.

Responding to these queries, ASG Singh submitted that the HC indeed had jurisdiction to issue fresh guidelines but the real problem would be in its implentation.

"I say that the requisite guidelines and norms are in place. There is no need to have new norms," the ASG submitted.

"The courts can intervene in cases of prejudicial media and invoke contempt proceedings if the coverage disturbs the administration of justice," Singh added.

Meanwhile, the National Broadcasters Standard Authority (NBSA) through senior counsel Arvind Datar assured the bench that the private body would be coming up with a set of fresh guidelines or the media to cover cases after registration of an FIR.

Both the ASG as well as Datar further said they would be submitting detailed written arguments to the bench.

The judges, accordingly, closed the matter for judgment.

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Free Press Journal