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'Policy Matter': Delhi High Court Refuses To Frame Guidelines For Reporting Of Criminal Investigations By Media

Akshita Saxena
7 Oct 2021 8:30 AM GMT
Policy Matter: Delhi High Court Refuses To Frame Guidelines For Reporting Of Criminal Investigations By Media
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The plea was filed in wake of sensational media reporting on the demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to pass directions on a petition seeking guidelines to govern reporting of news related to criminal investigations by media outlets.A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh disposed of the petition while observing that the issue at hand is a matter of state policy.It observed,"It appears that the petitioner is in search of...

The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to pass directions on a petition seeking guidelines to govern reporting of news related to criminal investigations by media outlets.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh disposed of the petition while observing that the issue at hand is a matter of state policy.

It observed,

"It appears that the petitioner is in search of framing of rules, regulations and guidelines to govern reporting/ broadcasting of news relating to criminal investigation by media outlets and such other aligned matters. It ought to be kept in mind that this will be a policy matter and prerogative power of the Respondents.
Thus, there is no reason to entertain this petition or to draft rules by this court. So far as guidelines to govern reporting is concerned, a representation can always be preferred by the petitioner before the concerned authority. As and when the same is made, it will be decided in accordance with law, rules and regulations applicable thereof."

The petition was filed by one Mohd. Khalil, in wake of sensational media reporting on the demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

What Kind Of Reporting Amounts To 'Media Trial'? Bombay High Court Gives Guidelines

The News Broadcasting Standards Authority had found several media houses guilty of insensitive reporting and sensationalizing the death of the actor. The Press Council of India had also noted with distress that coverage of the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput by many media outlets are in "contravention of the Norms of Journalistic Conduct framed by the PCI".

The Petitioner had thus sought framing of guidelines to regulate the reporting of cases where criminal investigation is ongoing, so as to avoid similar instances in future.

Senior Advocate Malvika Trivedi, appearing for the Respondents, argued that the Petitioner has no locus standi as he is neither an accused in the case nor an otherwise aggrieved party. She also argued that the matter has become infructuous.

On hearing this, the Bench told the Petitioner, "Nothing much is left in the matter. If you're aggrieved, you can approach the appropriate forum. Otherwise, be satisfied with whatever is going on."

Case Title: Mohd. Khalil v. Union of India

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