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16 Oct, 76 tweets, 44 min read
#SSRCase : Bombay HC to continue hearing a batch of petitions seeking regulations on "media trial" in the context of #SushantSinghRajputCase .

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice G S Kulkarni starts hearing the matter.

Follow thread for live updates.

#BombayHC
ASG Anil Singh starts submissions for the Union of India.

#SSRCase
#MediaTrial
#BombayHC
ASG Anil Singh continues reference to 'Sahara Case' of the SC.

#SSRCase
#MediaTrial
#BombayHC
SC has advocated the 'doctrine of postponement' in the case. In appropriate cases, the courts can order postponing of publication, SC held in that case. Such order to be passed only in cases of 'real and tangible' threat of prejudice to trial :ASG Anil Singh.
#SSRCase
#MediaTrial
Content and context of the offending publication has to be taken into consideration. Order of postponing is only to balance conflicting public interests : ASG Anil Singh quotes from Sahara judgment.
#SSRCase
#MediaTrial
There cannot be a general order in anticipation for postponing publications. It can only be for a limited period in specific cases : ASG Anil Singh.
#SSRCase
#MediaTrial
The postponement order can be passed only on the basis of applications filed by aggrieved persons as per Sahara judgment.

Here, all the petitioners are public interest petitioners. It is not shown how they are personally aggireved : ASG Anil Singh.
#SSRCase
#MediaTrial
The first petition is by a group of retired police officers. Rest are by private citizens. The accused persons have not come before the court. The police officers have not come before the court. There is no 'aggrieved party' before the court : ASG Anil Singh.
#SSRCase
#MediaTrial
The Supreme Court(in Sahara case) refrained from framing any general guidelines on press reporting on pending matters. Court said postponing orders can be passed in specific cases on actual publications : ASG Anil Singh.
#SSRCase
#MediaTrial
The stress is on self-regulation by media ,he adds.

He refers to the full bench decision of the Kerala HC in "S Sudin vs Union of India" which held that media cannot be prevented from publication of news about hartal, bandh etc.

#SSRCase
#MediaTrial
ASG Anil Singh refers to the judgment of SC in 'Common Cause vs Union of India', where SC recommended the Central Government to deliberate on the issue and finalize a statutory framework.

#SSRCase
#MediaTrial
ASG Anil Singh refers to the recent judgment of the Kerala HC dismissing a PIL seeking regulations on print and electronic media.

Kerala HC Dismisses Lawyer's PIL Seeking Regulation Of Print & Electronic Media [Read Judgment]

livelaw.in/news-updates/k…
"we have no hesitation to hold that a public interest
litigation to frame guidelines to restrict the media on the basis of the allegations made in the writ petition cannot be entertained", Kerala HC observed in the above case, ASG Anil Singh points out.

#SSRCase
#mediatrial
The Kerala HC also noted that the petitioner was not a person who was personally affected by the offending reports, ASG Anil Singh points out. Says that similar situation is there in the present cases as well.
#SSRCase
#mediatrial
#BombayHC
ASG Anil Singh refers to the affidavit filed by the Union of India before the Supreme Court in the "Sudarshan TV" case.
#SSRCase
#mediatrial
#BombayHC
Read the affidavit here:

livelaw.in/top-stories/ne…
The said affidavit is referred by ASG Anil Singh to elaborate the measures taken by the Centre to regulate media reporting in furtherance of directions of SC in the Common Cause judgment.

#SSRCase
#mediatrial
#BombayHC
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on 26.4.2017 has laid down detailed Guidelines for the framework of the State/District level Monitoring Committees and the detailed procedure for handling grievances related to reporting : ASG Anil Singh.
#SSRCase
#mediatrial
Whenever we receive a complaint on media, they are referred to NBA. If NBA does not take action, the internal ministry committee looks into it and refers to the Ministry for action: ASG Anil Singh.
#SSRCase
#mediatrial
Time and again courts have held that there should be minimum interference with media and have stressed on self-regulation. That is why complaints are referred to private organizations : ASG Anil Singh.
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#mediatrial
When the channel is not the NBA, we send the complaint to the channel and the matter is referred to the inter ministry committee : ASG Anil Singh.
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#mediatrial
Justice Kulkarni asks whether the centra acts only on the basis of a complaint after the dissemination of news or is there any mechanism for any surveillance by the Ministry.
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Before the damage is caused, is there any machinery to check that? Justice Kulkarni asks.

#SSRCase
#mediatrial
For the print media, there is a Press Council of Act since 1978. But for the electronic media there is no body : Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta observes.
#SSRCase
#mediatrial
Why there are no fetters for the electronic media like the Press Council? CJ Dutta asks Centre.
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#mediatrial
ASG Anil Singh replies that the issue has been deliberated on many occasions. But the Courts have insisted on self-regulation.
#SSRCase
#mediatrial
CJ Dutta to Centre : You do not seem to be in the mood to ruffle feathers with respect to electronic media.
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#mediatrial
Justice Kulkarni says that the previous judgments were passed in a differen set of circumstances.

Now the situation is different. We are facing a different problem, J Kulkarni observes.

#SSRCase
#mediatrial
CJ Dutta refers to yesterday's observation made by the SC about Police Commissioner giving interview.
#SSRCase
#mediatrial
livelaw.in/top-stories/we…
"For Print Media there is Press Council. For cinemas there is a Censor Board. Why can't you think of a similar statutory body for the electronic media?", CJ Dipankar Dutta asks Centre.
#SSRCase
#mediatrial
"We are concerned with the efficiency of the present mechanism", Justice Kulkarni.

"We are saying these out of our concerns. Every one seems to be having an unfettered license to say whatever they want", CJ Dutta.
#SSRCase
#mediatrial
"The entire system will break down. The cherished values of our founding fathers will become irrelevant. What about the preamble. There is no fraternal feeling", CJ Dutta expresses concern at unrestrained media reports.

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#mediatrial
ASG Anil Singh says that he understands the concerns of the court and the will convey the same to the Department.

"We are also working on it", ASG tells the bench.
#SSRCase
#mediatrial
"I will advise my department that whatever they have to do, it must be done expeditiously", ASG tells the bench.
#SSRCase
#mediatrial
"Media has fundamental right to freedom. But that cannot be used to infinge the rights of others. This cannot go unregulated", Justice Kulkarni tells ASG.

#SSRCase
#mediatrial
There has be be right balance between right to free speech, right to fair trial and right to reputation : CJ Dutta.

#SSRCase
#mediatrial
It takes days of hardwork to build up a reputation. But one stroke is sufficient to bring it down : CJ Dutta.
#SSRCase
#mediatrial
Legitimate restraint on free speech is a must : Justice Kulkarni.

#SSRCase
#mediatrial
"All these are upcoming youngsters. They have a long life ahead. Their entire family will be affected", Justice Kulkarni in reference to media reporting on #SSRCase
Justice Kulkarni : Let the investigative journalism continue, but not to such an extent.

CJ Dutta : All we are saying there is no mechanism to control the electronic media.

#SSRCase
#BombayHC
Justice Kulkarni : It is not good for the media also that citizens should come to the court complaining about the reports.
#SSRCase
#BombayHC
Justice Kulkarni : This is an "SOS" for the Ministry to urgently look into the issue.
#SSRCase
#bombayhc
#MediaTrial
Justice Kulkarni : What is the highest punishment which the NBA can impose on a channel for violation?

ASG Anil Singh : I think it is Rs One Lakh fine.

#SSRCase
#bombayhc
#MediaTrial
Justice Kulkarni : Are there any instances where the Ministry has taken any suo moto action against any channel?

ASG Anil Singh says he will get back on that query.

#SSRCase
#bombayhc
#MediaTrial
ASG Anil Singh says there are such instances of suo moto action by Ministry?

What was the content?Under what circumstances those actions were taken. You can file a statement on that : Court tells ASG.
#SSRCase
#bombayhc
#MediaTrial
Court quizzes the ASG about the District and State Level Monitoring Committees under Cable TV Act.

"We do not know if these committees are functional and what they are doing?", Justice Kulkarni observes.

#SSRCase
#bombayhc
#MediaTrial
'Has anybody challenged the Press Council Act for the past 42 years? So why do you fear(to make a similar regulatory body for electronic media)", CJ Dutta asks Centre.

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#MediaTrial
Once the self-regulation has failed, what should be the remedy? That is the concern : Justice Kulkarni.
#SSRCase
#bombayhc
#MediaTrial
We are in that situation, where the self-regulation has failed : Justice Kulkarni.

#SSRCase
#bombayhc
#MediaTrial
Till now we were also expecting that the media will self-regulate and will act in a responsible manner. But when time changes, we have to think about it. We are working on this seriously: ASG tells the bench.

#SSRCase
#bombayhc
#MediaTrial
That is the only hope we have that you are looking into it : Justice Kulkarni tells ASG.
#SSRCase
#bombayhc
#MediaTrial
When legitimate constitutional boundaries are been crossed as in this situation , it is the legislature and the government which have to address it : Justice Kulkarni.
#SSRCase
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#MediaTrial
Justice Kulkarni : Today 'X' person might be affected by the news. Tomorrow it may be 'Y' person. So there has to be a uniformity for all times to come.

#SSRCase
#bombayhc
#MediaTrial
Singh making final submissions. Says that none of the petitioners are "aggrieved persons" as per the yardstick laid down by Sahara decision of SC. None of the accused persons in #SSRCase has come before the court complaining of "media trial".

#BombayHC
ASG Singh now responding to the argument that "trial by media" amounts to "contempt of court" as interference with administration of justice.

#SSRCase
#BombayHC
ASG Singh says that explanation to Section 3 of the Contempt of Courts Act make it clear that investigation is not covered under "judicial proceeding".
#SSRCase
#BombayHC
Singh summarizes the position of Union of India :

We do not support media trial.

We advocate balancing free speech with right to free trail.

We follow the concept of self-regulation as stressed by the SC. But we are looking into the issues of failure of self-regulation.
Senior Advocate Arvind Datar for News Broadcasting Standards Authority(NBSA) starts submissions.

Datar says that he is not arguing on the maintainability of the petitions as there is a "larger issue affecting all of us involved here".

#SSRCase
#BombayHC
Datar explaining why there is a self-regulating mechanism for media, unlike other sectors like corporate world.

#SSRCase
#BombayHC
Media is the eyes and ears of the public. A free press, a free electronic media is the heart and soul of democracy. To maintain this freedom, the opportunity of self-regulation is given. Once there is state regulation, there will be multiple problems : Datar.
#SSRCase
#BombayHC
Self-regulation of media is the norm in all civilized countries. In most democracies, by and large, there is no fetter on free speech and free expression. India has taken the path of Article 19(2) after first amendment : Datar.
#SSRCase
#BombayHC
The Supreme Court and High Courts have jealously guarded the freedom of press. In Sahara case, the plea for a statutory regulation was expressly ruled out : Datar for NBSA.
#SSRCase
#BombayHC
Datar concedes that Rs One Lakh fine is not a big amount for a channel these days. But the direction for public apology can have serious consequences as it affects the credibility of the channel : Datar for NBSA
#SSRCase
#BombayHC
Why there is no Press Council like body for electronic media? I will respond. With due respect, it is not correct to say that electronic media is completely unregulated and is going wild : : Datar for NBSA
#SSRCase
#BombayHC
The NBSA has passed several orders over the years. The Code of Conduct adopted by the Press Council is exactly similar to the NBA code of conduct : Datar for NBSA

#SSRCase
#BombayHC
Datar submits that the Ministry has taken action against channels. Electronic media is subject to a statutory framework : Datar for NBSA
#SSRCase
#BombayHC
The conduct of three or four channels should not be taken to paint the entire media in a poor light : Datar for NBSA.

#SSRCase
#BombayHC
Just because a few channels have gone out of control, that should not be a ground to impose severe restrictions on the entire electronic media : Datar for NBSA.

#SSRCase
#BombayHC
We cannot discount the fact that the media in India, through investigative journalism or sting operation, have exposed many irregularities.
Not just in India. The Watergate scandal was brought out by 2 journalists. The cover-up in Catholic church too : Datar for NBSA.
#SSRCase
Datar refers to some orders passed by the Authority under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

CJ Dutta asks if any channel has been held up for media trial.

Datar replies he will check and get back on that.

#SSRCase
#MediaTrial
The bench observes that most orders are in the nature of warnings and advisories.
"There is a regime of warning and advisories", Justice Kulkarni remarks.
#SSRCase
#MediaTrial
In the 2018 Common Cause case, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to inform about the grievance redressal mechanism available to public against broadcast and radio stations : Datar.
#SSRCase
#MediaTrial
Datar says that Ministry issues advisories to news channels from time to time. Cites the example of advisory issued in the context of Ayodhya judgment asking channels to show restraint while debating on the verdict.

Such advisories are not sent to print media, Datar adds.
Datar also refers to the advisory issued to media for coverage of anti-terrorist operations.
#SSRCase
#bombayhc
#MediaTrial
Datar says that there is an advisory on selective leaks by police to media. In 2010, Home Ministry issued advisory on police briefing for media.

Now, some channels are given selective information, which are reported attributing to "sources", he adds.
Datar refers to the order passed by NBSA against Aaj Tak, Zee News, India TV and News24 for insensitive reporting of #SushantSinghRajput death.

#bombayhc
#SSRCase

@ZeeNews @aajtak @indiatvnews @News24

livelaw.in/top-stories/br…
The bench rises. The arguments will continue on Monday (Oct 19).

#bombayhc
#SSRCase
#MediaTrial

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