Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

Cruise Ship Drug Case: Delhi High Court Asks Media Houses To Show Restraint While Reporting Matters Under Investigation

Akshita Saxena
7 Oct 2021 11:45 AM GMT
Cruise Ship Drug Case: Delhi High Court Asks Media Houses To Show Restraint While Reporting Matters Under Investigation
x

In relation to the ongoing Cruise Ship Drug case, the Delhi High Court today asked all media houses to exercise restraint and strictly comply with the directions issued by the Bombay High Court for media coverage of ongoing criminal investigations.The development comes in a petition moved by a Delhi based event organizer Arjun Jain, aggrieved by certain media reports from India Today channel...

In relation to the ongoing Cruise Ship Drug case, the Delhi High Court today asked all media houses to exercise restraint and strictly comply with the directions issued by the Bombay High Court for media coverage of ongoing criminal investigations.

The development comes in a petition moved by a Delhi based event organizer Arjun Jain, aggrieved by certain media reports from India Today channel over his alleged involvement in the case, despite no summons issued to him by Narcotics Control Bureau.

"There is no gainsaying that Respondent no. 3 (India Today) and all other media houses ought to show restraint while reporting matters which are still under investigation by statutory authority...Respondent no. 3 is directed to ensure that it acts strictly in accordance with the directions issued by the Bombay High Court in Nilesh Navalakha & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.," Justice Rekha Palli said.

The Court however refused to pass interim orders in the matter for removing all links and reportage in relation to the Petitioner.

It has also decided to examine the existing guidelines with respect to media trial and decide whether there is a requirement for further guidelines regulating media reporting, in case of 'emergency' situations.

During the course of hearing, Advocate Adit S Pujari appearing for the petitioner submitted that even though Jain had not been contacted or issued summons by the NCB, certain media persons had approached his house in order to take his interview and statements of his family members.

Denying the petitioner's involvement in case, Pujari had submitted that Jain is an ex-director in the company Namascray Experience (P) Ltd., which had entered into an onboard services agreement to conduct and manage onboard events for Cordelia cruise ship, which was raided by the NCB on 2nd October and certain individuals were arrested for offences under the NDPS Act.

He claimed that the petitioner is neither a director nor an associate in the said company and the Respondent no. 3 has published news articles which purportedly show that the Petitioner was the was master mind in organizing the event, leading to raid.

Pujari further submitted that even though the petitioner made a complaint to the Respondent no. 3 on 5th October, since it does not have any mechanism to take effective steps at this stage itself he has been compelled to approach the court.

He sought a direction to the Respondents no. 1 and 2 to make rules to regulate reportage of cases where criminal investigational and trial is ongoing and to create an "emergency efficacious redressal system" in this regard.

On other hand, Advocate Hrishikesh Baruah appearing for the news channel submitted that there are enough guidelines to ensure that reporting is done without being sensationalized and in a responsible manner.

Baruah vehemently opposed the petition and submitted that the Petitioner has approached the court with unclean hands and has tried to project that he was never associated with the aforesaid company whereas in fact is he resigned as a director of said company only on 24 August.

He further submitted that the Petitioner's self-made claim that he has clean antecedents is belied by the fact that he was arrested recently, though he was released within 2 days as he had settled the matter with the complainant.

He further submitted that reporting done by the channel is based on factual position and reliable information received by them from authentic sources.

Having considered the submissions, the Court said that even though it finds merit in the submissions made India Today that the Petitioner has tied to conceal certain facts that he was a director in Namascray company till as late as 24 Aug, it observed,

"I am of view the that before passing any order it would be appropriate to examine the guidelines mentioned by the Respondent."

"In light of the above, even though the Petitioner may not be entitled to any interim relief at this stage, grievance of the Petitioner deserves to be examined by this court as there is no gainsaying that Respondent no. 3 and all other media houses ought to show restraint while reporting matters which are still under investigation by statutory authority. Before passing any order, it would be appropriate to examine the guidelines holding field. I am therefore inclined to issue notice."

The matter is now listed for hearing on January 31, 2022.

Case Title: Arjun Jain v. News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority & Ors.

Next Story