The Delhi High Court will hear a petition for court directions to journalist Arnab Goswami and his TV news channel to refrain from broadcasting information or news on investigations into criminal cases.
The matter was listed before a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, fixed November 27 for further hearing while directing the petitioner’s counsel to submit a draft of guidelines required to regulate reporting on trials and investigations in criminal cases.
The plea also sought the court’s direction to the central government, represented by its standing counsel Ajay Digpaul, to frame rules, regulations and guidelines to govern reporting or broadcasting of news related to criminal investigations by media outlets.
The petition also sought commencement of proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 against Goswami and his media company.
It also sought the court’s direction to Goswami and his media company, which runs Republic TV, to immediately refrain from publishing or broadcasting information or news related to criminal investigations in the name of investigative journalism.
Petitioner Mohammad Khalil’s concern was that Goswami and his company, through their broadcasts and publications, had been reporting “distorted and misleading” facts related to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
“Respondent Numbers 2 and 3 (Goswami and his media company) have been on a constant witch-hunt against the accused, trying to link the smallest and most irrelevant information in a twisted manner to indicate and impute that the accused has a direct nexus to the death. The respondent 2 and 3 have presided as judge, jury and executioner and swayed the public opinion towards the culpability of the accused,” said the plea.
The plea alleged that Goswami and his channel published and broadcast selective details of the statement given by the accused to the Narcotics Control Bureau so as to indicate that the accused has been caught for alleged crimes.
“The entire charade undertaken by respondents 2 and 3 is nothing but an exercise to increase its TRPs and viewership at the cost of the accused’s right to fair trial,” the plea added.