The Delhi High Court today dismissed a PIL filed by the mother of Olympic wrestler and murder-accused Sushil Kumar, which had sought directions to make standard rules for reporting criminal cases by the media. The PIL was filed taking into consideration the right of the accused.
A bench led by the Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said: “All these contentions raised for Sushil Kumar… have been preferred for a person who is a ‘vigilant man’ and that is why we see no reason to entertain a litigation on behalf of a vigilant person.”
In the petition, Sushil’s mother Kamla Devi wanted the media to be restrained from engaging in media trials. The backdrop of this PIL are media reports and analyses in the case of the arrest of Olympic medalist wrestler Sushil Kumar, accused in a murder case.
The PIL has been filed by Sushil’s mother Kamla Devi and Shrikant Prasad, a student of law at Delhi University. The petitioners want a direction to Delhi Police, Press Trust of India and other concerned media channels to refrain from media adalats. The plea also wants the media to not disclose statements of witnesses and all information related to the case. The plea says that only the investigation agency has that power.
The PIL stated that the media has now transformed itself into “janta adalats” or “public courts” and has started intervening in the proceedings of the court. The vital gap between a convict and an accused is completely overlooked by the media which disregards the cardinal principles of ‘presumption of innocence until proven guilty’ and ‘guilt beyond reasonable doubt’.