[Sushant Singh Rajput Case]: Republic TV & Times Now Hindered Investigation Probe Says Bombay HC

In November last year, the Court had reserved its judgement on the PILs that came from 8 former police officers from Maharashtra, lawyers, activists and NGOs, seeking restraining orders against the media trial in the Sushant Singh Rajput case.

The Bombay High Court on Monday observed that any media trial during an investigation probe will hinder the proves and violate the Cable TV Network Regulation Act. As a result, the court ordered that till the time electronic media forms its own guidelines, the Press Council of India (PCI) guidelines will apply to both the print media and the electronic media.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni passed its verdict on the pleas that were filed asking for restraining orders against the media trial in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case by the Police officers, lawyers, activists and NGOs.

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The court ruled that these media trials interfere with the functioning of the court in providing criminal justice. It also mentions that some TV channels like Times Now and Republic TV were Contemptuous but the court did not take any action against it.

The court also accepted an accusation on the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (UMIB) that it abdicated its statutory duties towards reporting in the Sushant Singh Rajput case.

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The court also held that the media should refrain from putting pictures and reconstructing the whole case parallelly when the investigation is ongoing. This is a valid point we come across today which hampers the functioning of the investigating team and the judiciary.

After the accusations made on the UMIB, the court also accepted the accusations made on MIB that it failed to perform its statutory functions in regulating the Sushant Sigh Rajput’s case.

The Centre was asked by the court in November as to why it should not frame any guidelines on electronic media covering sensitive information when the investigation is underway and whether excessive reporting by the press will hamper the administration of Criminal Justice.

The plea stated that some of the anchors of the TV Channels have been 24/7 running a campaign against the Mumbai police and the DCP by attacking them in the most unbecoming manner.

It further emphasizes that when the media starts its own trial it creates an atmosphere of prejudice and makes a person guilty before he is even proven guilty by the court this violates the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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The court dismissed the writ petition holding that the findings were with respect to the writ petitions and not the subject matter of the case.


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