SSR death case: Bombay HC to give verdict today in petitions against media trial

The Bombay High Court is likely to deliver its judgment on Monday on a bunch of petitions made to restrain the reportage of media houses in wake of death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

A Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni had reserved the judgment on the petitions on November 6 last year.

Among prayers in the pleas were to direct prominent TV channels to restrict reportage that would hamper investigation in the case, to frame guidelines to regulate print and broadcast media and a re-interpretation of the contempt law so that publication of information from the stage of filing FIR would be liable for contempt.

The petitioners had argued that while reporting criminal proceedings, the media must take utmost care not to suggest who should be arrested or is guilty. While clarifying that they are not against commentary or critical reporting, the reportage should not interfere in administration of justice.

The Union had contended that the high court need not issue any guidelines as making a law was in the domain of the legislature. Further, there were adequate checks and balances in place already, it had submitted.

The News Broadcasting Association (NBA) had said that there was self-regulation in place and judicial intervention was not required. News channels opposed to the pleas arguing that they were following self-regulation. Republic TV had argued that the aggrieved persons had not approached the high court and Times Now said that news should be seen as a whole and not piecemeal to understand it.

The Bench had indicated that the issue brought before them being unprecedented, it is in favour of issuing guidelines to curb media trial.

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