New Delhi: A plea has been filed before the Bombay High Court seeking temporary postponement of the media trial that is being conducted by several news channels and reporters for their personal gains in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. The plea says that such media trial is being done in order to get more TRPs for their channels and agencies and will eventually hamper the investigation in progress.
The plea has been drawn by advocates Rajesh Inamdar, Shashwat Anand, Aditya Bhat and Smita Pandey. The plea has been filed by advocate Pankaj Kandhari on behalf of social activist and filmmaker Nilesh Navlakha and two more petitioners, one being the editor of regional newspaper ‘Bandhuprem’ in Solapur, while the other is a retired ER-in-Chief/Civil from Punjab State Electricity Board.
The petition states that since actors Sushant Singh Rajput‘s death on June 14, several prominent media channels have been literally conducting ‘Media trials’ and parallel proceedings and investigation by conducting and broadcasting, holding debates, rendering opinion, exposing material witnesses, examining and cross-examining the witnesses and reporting and chasing the officials of CBI who are investigating the case. All such telecasts and broadcasts are available in the public domain.
The plea adds that several news channels have proceeded to already ‘convict’ the accused named in the FIR and have also made insinuations against high ranking officers of the Mumbai Police and the Ministers of the State without even completion of the investigation or probe in the matter. Several prominent news channels have had the proposed witnesses examined and cross examined and also exposed the probable evidence to the public which can only be done by the investigating agency or by the competent courts during the course of trial.
The plea has also cited the recent judgment given by Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court where it criticized the media for its unwarranted propaganda in Tablighi Jamaat case and observed how severely unwarranted propaganda and opinionated news harms people.
According to the petitioners, the current media coverage of the case not only flouts and violates the mandate of Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and 1994 Rules but is also in contravention of the Code of Ethics & Broadcasting Standards, News Broadcasting Standards Regulations.
The petitioner has, therefore, urged the court to issue urgent directions to postpone such media trials in order to complete fair investigation and trials in the court of law, because the medial trial in this case is posing a real and substantial risk of prejudice to the proper administration of justice, much less, the criminal justice system, or to the fairness of trial and such a balancing act would not be an unreasonable restriction and on the contrary would fall within the proper constitutional framework.
-India Legal Bureau