Don’t cross the “Lakshman Rekha” and don’t face the contempt of the Bombay HC courtroom within the media course of: [Read Guidelines]
Tap to follow:
In criminal matters, the media process tends to distort the administration of justice. Hence it could be a “contempt for judgment”.
We believe that any act or disclosure suspected by the competent court (which has the power to punish for contempt) harms humanity and prejudices a fair investigation of the crime and a fair trial of the accused
What could obstruct the “administration of justice”?
Media reports before the start of the trial could obstruct the administration of justice.
A media trial while the police investigation is continuing could result in an obstruction to the administration of justice.
The administration of justice applies to both civil and criminal matters.
Defense of fair reporting?
The court denied this defense and ruled that this defense could not be used to report an ongoing investigation.
The court clarified that legal proceedings will be initiated shortly after the FIR is filed. Hence, “contempt for the court” will have its ambience for the whole process.
The media should exercise restraint in discussing an ongoing investigation so as not to undermine the rights of the accused and witnesses
The bank affirmed that the guidelines of the Press Council of India will also apply to the electronic media.
Some of the guidelines issued by the Court of Justice are listed below:
Conduct interviews with the victim, witnesses and / or one of their family members and display them on screen
Analysis of versions of witnesses whose evidence could be critical at the stage of the trial;
Disclosing a confession allegedly made by a defendant to a police officer and attempting to convince the public that this is piece of evidence admissible in a court of law and there is no reason for the court not to act on it without allowing the public to know the gist of the Evidence Act of 1872;
Printing photos of a defendant to facilitate his identification;
Criticism of the investigative authority due to half-hearted information without adequate investigation;
State the merits of the case, including pre-judging the guilt or innocence of a defendant or a person who is not yet wanted in a case;
Restoring / reconstructing a crime scene and showing how the defendant committed the crime;
Predicting the proposed / future course of action, including steps that should be taken in a particular direction to complete the investigation; and
Leakage of sensitive and confidential information from materials collected by the investigative agency;
To act in any way to violate the provisions of the Program Code as required by Section 5 of the CTVN Act under Rule 6 of the CTVN Rules in order to incite contempt from the court;
Indulge in the murder of an individual and thereby damage their reputation.
The court made it clear that the above guidelines are not exhaustive, but only indicative.
The court asked the media houses not to exceed certain limits (Lakshman Rekha).
Think of a cop. Can someone be guaranteed not to be influenced? He may be following a certain lead that could be the right one. Media say no no that has to be the track. He loses the overview and summarizes the innocent.
It should be noted that one of the PILs was submitted to the Mumbai Police Department by the group of eight former police officers.
The group cited that the criticism of the city police was unfair.
The court ruled that the media coverage of Times Now and Republic TV in the present case appeared to be contemptuous.
Read the guidelines here
Bombay High Court Guidelines for the Media Trial