Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Delhi High Court questions TV Today Network on the need to telecast narco-analysis test and chargesheet in Shraddha Walkar murder case

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The Delhi High Court has questioned the news channel Aaj Tak/TV Today Network on its desire to telecast narco-analysis test and chargesheet related to Shraddha Walkar murder case on their channel.

Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar took exception to the channel’s inclination to highlight the Walkar murder case alone.

The bench questioned that there are about 20 murders all over India daily and what was so special about this case?

The bench questioned if the Nirbhaya case played on TV channels, if not then why are you choosing this particular case.

The judge also asked the media channel if it would broadcast the recent Atiq Ahmed murder case i the same fashion.

The court also asked the counsel for the channel to respond to the bench’s queries on the next date of hearing on August 3.

The remarks were made by the Bench while it was hearing an application that was moved by TV Today seeking vacation of an earlier order of April 19 restraining media channels from displaying or telecasting psychological assessment, voice layered test, narco analysis of accused Aaftab Poonawalla.

The Court had also restrained channels from publishing the confidential material in the chargesheet. 

The Court questioned the counsel appearing for TV Today if videos related to the investigation can be played on TV during the pendency of the trial.

The Court said that you can’t take the chargesheet in a case and affix them on walls. Some line needs to drawn about how much these public documents [in a criminal trial] can be displayed on TV.

The India Today counsel told the Court that the injunction order effectively violates their fundamental right.

To which, the bench asked if not allowing display of the matter under sub-judice on TV is violation of fundamental rights.

The Court further questioned as to how many criminal cases pending before courts are being displayed on TV?

The counsel said that the material they want to publish are public documents and that he is only asking the Court to give an early date so that the matter can be heard.

The counsel further said that the case has attained a special status in the eyes of the public and that he will answer all the questions posed by the Bench.

Justice Bhatnagar, however, said that such materials are there in every case but they are not shown on TV.

It added that no early date will be given in the application and it will be heard on the date already fixed in the main matter which is August 3, 2023.

The Court further asked the counsel to come up with answers to all the questions posed to him.

The Bench then proceeded to issue notice on India Today’s application.

Meanwhile, the counsel appearing for the accused Poonawalla as well as Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Amit Prasad opposed the plea.

They said that they will file their responses by the next date. 

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